MSF: Scores died of COVID-19 in southern Yemen in just two weeks
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says its main COVID-19 treatment center in southern Yemen has recorded at least 68 deaths in just two weeks.
“What we are seeing in our treatment center is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the number of people infected and dying in (Aden),” MSF’s operations manager for Yemen Caroline Seguin said Thursday.
Since March 2015, Yemen has been heavily invaded by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia.
Ceaseless Saudi airstrikes and the destruction wrought by the kingdom's mercenaries and armed militia loyal to Hadi have wiped out much of Yemen’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.
The COVID-19 disease has further deteriorated the humanitarian situation in the impoverished country, where 80 percent of the population are reliant on international aid for survival.
Early this week, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that Yemen’s health system was already under heavy stress and would now be overwhelmed “if COVID-19 continues to spread.”
The so-called regime led by former fugitive Yemeni president Mansour Hadi in Aden has since April 10 announced 180 infections and 30 deaths from the coronavirus.
But the MSF said Thursday that its center in Aden had admitted 173 patients from April 30 to May 17, at least 68 of whom had lost their lives, suggesting “a wider catastrophe unfolding in the city.”
Even so, inadequate testing capacity made it hard to pin down exact numbers but dying patients “clearly have the symptoms of COVID-19”, it said.
The MSF said endemic diseases like malaria and dengue “never produced so many deaths in such a short amount of time” in the Arab country.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.