Houthi militias looting, selling cholera drugs on black market: Officials

Author: MOHAMMED AL-SULAMIFri, 2017-07-21 03:00ID: 1500582800580173400JEDDAH: The behavior of Houthi militias has exacerbated the spread of cholera in Yemen, according to Yemeni officials. The daily death toll announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) is constantly increasing. According to the latest statistics, 1,817 people have died of cholera in less than three months. There have been 363,000 cases of the disease reported in 21 of the 22 Yemeni governorates since April 27. Socotra, a Yemeni island in the Arabian Sea, has so far been free of cholera.Officials in the internationally recognized government have warned of the consequences of Houthi militias looting and stealing drugs that treat the disease. They have urged the international community to act immediately to stop this.Yemen’s Minister of Local Administration Abdel-Raqib Fath, who is also head of the Higher Relief Committee, denounced the Houthis for trading the drugs and selling them on the black market in the provinces of Hodeidah, Hajah, Ibb and Dhamar. He said the silence of UN organizations is putting Yemeni lives in even greater danger. He labeled these actions by the Houthis “terrorist and totally inconsistent with all humanitarian principles and laws.”Yemen’s permanent representative to the UN, Khalid Al-Yamani, said the situation in areas under Houthi control is becoming increasingly complicated due to the massive cholera outbreak. He added that the Houthis had refused to cooperate with the international community and to assist intensive efforts by the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief), the WHO, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Food Program.Yemeni media sources and eyewitnesses said supervisors appointed by the Houthis were selling the free cholera drugs and treatments to commercial pharmacies in Sanaa, Dhamar, Ibb and Hodeidah.The sources said the Houthis were using many militiamen to loot the drugs provided by the WHO, then sell them on the black market at very high prices to increase their revenues.The sources added that the Houthis had also confiscated drugs that treat heart disease, kidney disease and cancer. The WHO recently announced the arrival of 67 tons of medicine in Sanaa to treat cholera patients free of charge.Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, deputy prime minister and defense minister, ordered a donation of $66.7 million to treat the cholera epidemic in various parts of Yemen. The donation was made in response to requests by the WHO and UNICEF. Prince Mohammed has also sent 550 tons of medicines and supplies to help detect and treat cholera.The legitimate Yemeni government thanked him for helping to relieve Yemeni suffering.“Our brothers in the Saudi Kingdom have always been known for their humanitarian attitudes and leadership,” the Yemeni prime minister said.The minister of social affairs and labor praised the role of KSRelief in providing medicines and medical supplies to fight cholera. She said the Kingdom had become a role model in humanitarian work in the Arab world via KSRelief’s generous support, especially in Yemen.
Main category: Middle-East

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