Worst cholera outbreak in modern history strikes war-torn Yemen

Posted at 1:47 PM, Oct 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-05 13:47:20-04

(CNN) - An "unprecedented" cholera outbreak in Yemen is now considered the worst in modern history.

And the World Health Organization said more should have been done to stop it.

Yemen's few remaining hospitals echo with the moans of cholera patients. There are close to 750,000 suspected cases across the country and it's the worst outbreak in modern history, said the WHO.

The situation is only expected to worsen.

"Most people are being forced to buy expired and contaminated food, even the drinking water in some areas is contaminated with sewage water, therefore the immune system in most people is weak," said Dr. Fuad Ahmed Nassir Muthana Alakeely.

Access for journalists into Yemen is extremely limited, but the International Rescue Committee is one organization on the inside trying to help.

War forced 8-year-old Wajidah and her family from their home in the besieged city of Taez three months ago.

Her mother, Aziza, said cholera has swept through the camp where they are now.

"I came to treat my daughter," she said. "When the missiles came, and the fighting… we fled. We're living in a kind of no-man's land now."

Her situation is like 2 million others displaced by sickness and war, many of whom live with little access to clean water. Jerry cans are scattered across their camp like confetti, awaiting deliveries of food and water from aid organizations

But cholera must be treated fast, and mobile units like these can't make it to all corners of this country.

Lara ahmed maneer/community health volunteer:

"The number of illnesses has risen and people can't afford to buy any medication and go to hospitals, " said Lara Ahmed Maneer, a community health volunteer. "They simply don't have money but hopefully we'll be able to help and save lives."

And the victims can't afford food, either.

Copyright 2017 CNN. All rights reserved.