Skip to main content

Yemen dengue epidemic feared after death of 78 children

Save the Children says 52,000 suspected cases have been recorded across the war-torn country
The United Nations says 22 million of Yemen's 25 million population need humanitarian assistance (AFP)

At least 78 children in war-torn Yemen have died from dengue-related illnesses, Save the Children said on Tuesday, warning of an epidemic. 

"Seventy-eight children under 16 have already died in the outbreak of dengue-related illness in Yemen, with more than 52,000 suspected cases being recorded across the country," the UK-based aid group said in a statement. 

It added this "could signal the start of an epidemic".

Yemeni artist sheds light on the country's famine through her murals
Read More »

Save the Children said that a total of 192 people had died in Yemen last year from dengue-related illnesses, with most cases reported in the port cities of Hodeidah and Aden. 

"Hodeidah has the second highest death rate in the country with 62 adult and children deaths in 2019," said Save the Children's field coordinator in Yemen, Mariam Aldogani, herself recovering from dengue fever.

"We have never seen anything like this before. More than 40 of our staff including their families have been affected by the fever." 

According to the Red Cross in November, Yemen was already grappling with an epidemic of the viral disease, which is transmitted by several species of mosquito that breed in stagnant water.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions pushed to the brink of famine since a Saudi-led military coalition intervened against Houthi rebels in 2015.

The United Nations says 22 million of Yemen's 25 million population need humanitarian assistance as a result of the conflict.