ADEN, Yemen

The Yemeni government on Monday declared the temporary capital, Aden, a “disaster zone” due to spread of novel coronavirus and other epidemics, according to local media.

The government called on the World Health Organization, the international community and healthcare organizations to support Yemen in its fight against COVID-19 pandemic and other epidemics that emerged after a flood disaster in the city, the official Saba news agency reported.

Aden was ravaged by flash floods since mid-April, affecting 150,000 and prompted the government, last month, to declare the southern city a “disaster zone”.

The Yemeni government has so far confirmed eight deaths and 51 cases in areas under its control. Half of the fatalities and 35 infections were reported in Aden alone.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis, including civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, which has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis as millions remain at risk of starvation.

The impact on the country’s infrastructure has been devastating, with major overland routes and airports severely damaged.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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