A humanitarian group says 97 medical workers in Yemen have died of the coronavirus, the first reliable estimate to give a glimpse into the pandemic’s impact on the devastated health sector in the war-torn country.
The report by MedGlobal relies on accounts from Yemeni doctors tracking the deaths of colleagues to gauge the toll of the virus. The 97 dead include infectious disease experts, medical directors, midwives and pharmacists.
Even before the pandemic Yemen had just 10 doctors for every 10,000 people. The country’s health system is in shambles after five years of war that has spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Half of its medical facilities are dysfunctional.
Yemen’s government has reported 1,674 confirmed coronavirus infections and 469 deaths.
Meanwhile fears of famine in Yemen are resurfacing, the United Nations says. A UN report Wednesday said Yemen was returning to "alarming" levels of food insecurity.
Coronavirus restrictions, reduced remittances, locusts, floods and significant underfunding of this year's aid response have compounded an already dire hunger situation.
Famine has never been officially declared in Yemen. UN warnings in late 2018 of impending famine prompted an aid ramp-up after which the World Food Programme fed up to 13 million a month.