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Saudi Arabia, major combatant in Yemen, to tackle spread of cholera

Posted June 23

Saudi Arabia plans to shell out tens of millions of dollars to stem an outbreak of cholera in Yemen, spawned amid the military offensive it's spearheading there against the Houthi rebels.

Riyadh announced a donation of $66.7 million to UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and their partners to fight the disease.

Cholera -- an ailment caused by contaminated water and now exacerbated by delays in supplies reaching medical facilities -- shows up in war zones; the number of cases are mounting by the day in Yemen.

This disease, a ravaged health care system, a devastated infrastructure and a near famine are the results of the bloody civil war, which began in March 2015.

As of Thursday, the number of cholera cases stood at 192,983, according to WHO senior medical consultant Dr. Xavier de Radigu-s. The number could grow to 300,000 in September and later jump to 400,000, de Radigu-s said.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz -- who kicked off the donation initiative -- was recently made crown prince in a reshuffle of the Saudi royal hierarchy.

"Saudi Arabia is committed to working closely with our aid partners to effectively address the cholera and general humanitarian situation in Yemen," said Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, adviser at the royal court and general supervisor of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

'We will continue to work with our partners across a broad range of humanitarian and relief efforts for the people of Yemen."

Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of Arab states against Iran-backed Houthi militants, who toppled toppled the internationally recognized leadership there.

As the coalition and rebel groups bombard one another, terror groups operate unhindered and civilians are caught in the crossfire.

The conflict has been called the "forgotten war" because it has been overshadowed by the Syrian war and it is difficult for journalists to get to Yemen to cover the fighting.

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