© Reuters/ Khaled Abdullah
Over 23,400 suspected cholera cases and 242 deaths have been reported in 18 governorates of Yemen, according to the World Health Organization branch in Yemen.

An unprecedented surge in the number of cholera cases has been registered in Yemen, which disease outbreak occurring in 18 out of 21 governorates of the country, the World Health Organization branch in Yemen said Friday.

"Unprecedented surge in #cholera cases in #Yemen. Over 23,400 suspected cholera cases and 242 deaths have been reported in 18 governorates," the organization wrote on Twitter.


The cholera outbreak in Yemen was announced by the country's health authorities on October 6, 2016. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 7.6 million Yemenis live in areas with a high risk of cholera transmission.

The health situation in the country is aggravated by ongoing civil war, which erupted in 2015 between the internationally recognized government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthi movement backed by army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Shortly after the outbreak of the conflict, the Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf countries launched airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi's request.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) characterizes the situation in Yemen as "the largest humanitarian crisis in the world," with 18.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including 10.3 million who require immediate aid to save or sustain their lives.