UN says cholera cases surge in Yemen
WAR-battered Yemen has been hit with more than 460,000 suspected cholera cases so far this year - a sharp increase from the 380,000 cases for all of 2018.
The increased number of cases has led to 705 apparent cholera deaths since January, dramatically higher than the 75 deaths in the same period last year, United Nations deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.
The spread of cholera across the country has been accelerated by recent flash flooding, poor maintenance of waste management systems and a lack of access to clean water for drinking or irrigation.
The UN and its partners are operating nearly 1,200 cholera treatment facilities across Yemen, but Haq said that "funding remains an urgent issue." The UN humanitarian appeal for $US4.2 billion to help more than 20 million Yemenis this year is only 32 per cent funded.
The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by Iranian-backed Houthi Shiite rebels, who toppled the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
A Saudi-led coalition allied with Hadi's internationally-recognised government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.
Saudi-led airstrikes have hit schools, hospitals and wedding parties and killed thousands of Yemeni civilians. The Houthis have used drones and missiles to attack Saudi Arabia and have targeted vessels in the Red Sea.
Civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict, which has killed over 10,000 people, created the world's worst humanitarian crisis, brought the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of famine and sparked the cholera outbreak.