(ANTIMEDIA) — According to Oxfam International, a leading charitable organization, Yemen is currently battling a cholera epidemic that is killing one person nearly every hour. Children are contracting the infection at a rate of one every 35 seconds. If the outbreak is not contained, it will continue to threaten thousands of people for months on end.
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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 676 people died from cholera in a five-week period from the end of April to the start of June this year. More than 86,000 people are suspected of having the disease. Symptoms of this disease include diarrhea, nausea, and dehydration.
WHO’s latest report shows that 791 have died from cholera in Yemen as of June 7, 2017.
Oxfam predicts that somewhere between 150,000 and 300,000 people could contract the illness in the coming months.
As noted by Oxfam’s Yemen Country Director, Sajjad Mohammed, this dangerous situation could easily have been prevented:
“Yemen is on the edge of an abyss. Lives hang in the balance. Two years of war have plunged the country into one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and put Yemen at risk of famine…Cholera is simple to treat and prevent but while the fighting continues the task is made doubly difficult.”
There are a variety of factors to examine when determining the underlying causes of this specific cholera outbreak. As Oxfam explains:
“Health workers and water engineers have not been paid for months while hospitals, health centers and public water systems have been destroyed and starved of key items, such as medical supplies, chlorine and fuel. Even basic supplies such as intravenous fluids, oral rehydration salts and soap are urgently needed to enable an effective, speedy response – some of which will have to be flown into the country.”
Without oversimplifying this complex geopolitical conflict too much, the blame for this mass suffering lies largely on the U.S. and U.K.-backed Saudi alliance – the aggressors who are committing war crimes on a massive scale and directly targeting civilian infrastructure, including hundreds of hospitals. Despite this horror, the mainstream media is almost entirely silent on this topic. When they do report on the situation, most outlets fail to assign the blame fairly or accurately.
For example, the Washington Post has detailed how the Saudi-led coalition has completely destroyed Yemen’s economy (on purpose, one might add), yet the title of the article refers to the conflict as “Yemen’s war.” The Post must be well aware that most Americans are headline readers only, given they reported on this fact in an article entitled “Americans read headlines and not much else.”
It’s not “Yemen’s war” – Yemen isn’t at war with anyone. A genuine analysis of the conflict would find that local Yemenis, with the backing of their former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh – and a significant portion of Yemen’s armed forces who had pledged loyalty to him – had ousted a leader widely viewed as a Saudi puppet.
That puppet, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, had already been removed from power. The U.S.-backed Saudi coalition is demanding his reinstatement through brutal force and massacring thousands of ordinary Yemenis in the process.
If Iran or Russia was committing such aggression against one of the poorest countries in the world, the mainstream media would have a field day. The headlines alone would do all the damage necessary, and the media wouldn’t hesitate to assign blame.
This kind of selective reporting is nothing short of shameful and must be condemned in the strongest of terms. Meanwhile, Yemen burns in the background, and the beacons of human rights that are the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Gulf States who are actively waging this war are completely indifferent to the suffering of ordinary, innocent civilians.