Middle East

Yemen’s health system ‘has in effect collapsed’ as COVID-19 spreads: UN

GENEVA (Reuters) — Coronavirus is believed to be spreading throughout Yemen, where the health care system “has in effect collapsed,” the United Nations said on Friday, appealing for urgent funding.

Referring to aid agencies, Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told a Geneva briefing: “We hear from many of them that Yemen is really on the brink right now. The situation is extremely alarming, they are talking about that the health system has in effect collapsed.”

“They are talking about having to turn people away because they do not have enough [medical] oxygen, they do not have enough personal protective equipment,” he said.

Yemen authorities have reported 184 cases including 30 deaths to the World Health Organization (WHO), its latest figures show. “The actual incidence is almost certainly much higher,” Laerke said.

The United Nations estimates that it will seek two billion US dollars for Yemen to maintain aid programs through year-end, he added.


Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Catherine Evans

Image: A man wears a mask as he walks at a market amid concerns for the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sanaa, Yemen May 16, 2020. (REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

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