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Killed by cholera, Yemeni doctor knew he was fighting ‘disastrous’ epidemic

Abdul-Mughni had worked in a temporary diarrhoea treatment centre in the grounds of a hospital in the capital Sanaa that takes in around 120-150 severe cases a day.

Cholera causes profuse diarrhoea and fluid loss which can kill within hours. Children, the elderly and those with bodies weakened by years of poor nutrition are most at risk.

The centre at Sabaeen hospital has tents, outdoor toilets and overworked staff. Elderly ladies and children lie on gravel. Listless women on drips take up every spot of available shade.

Mona Ali’s 70-year-old mother-in-law travelled 25 km (15.5 miles) to the hospital in a minibus after suffering three days of uncontrollable diarrhoea and vomiting.

Ali, who herself had cholera two months ago and recovered at home, said the family was extremely poor and had to take a loan to bring her mother-in-law on the bus.

Water resources are scarce in the poorest Arabian Peninsula nation and pumps are needed in many parts of the country of 30 million people to bring water to the surface. Clean water prices have increased dramatically due to fuel shortages.

Yemen is suffering its third major outbreak of the water-borne bacterial infection since the conflict broke out in 2015, sparking the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis that has left ten million people on the brink of famine.

The United Nations has recorded 110,000 suspected cases of cholera and 200 deaths in three months, saying the disease was spreading like “wild-fire”.

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