The WHO representative in Yemen, Nevio Zagaria, said in a news conference on Saturday in the Yemeni capital Sanaa that the epidemic has hit 21 provinces out of Yemen’s 22 provinces, stressing that the number of suspected cholera cases has multiplied tenfold in the last two months.
UNICEF’s acting representative Sherin Varkey, for his part, said a quarter of the fatalities from the outbreak were children.
The death toll rose from 1,300 announced two weeks ago by WHO, which put the number of suspected cases at over 200,000 at the time and said that number is growing by 5,000 a day.
Cholera is a bacterial infection which is contracted through contaminated food or water as well as fluids from the infected person.
UN agencies have repeatedly warned that the three-year-long fighting in Yemen had destroyed the country’s health sector, making it difficult to deal with the epidemic.
Impoverished Yemen has remained in a state of civil war since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sanaa.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s embattled government.
According to UN officials, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 percent of the country’s population has been displaced as a direct result of the conflict.