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Indian priest abducted in Yemen could be released soon

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Yemen: An Indian priest abducted by gunmen in Yemen last month is safe and could be released soon, a Catholic group said on Sunday, quoting the Indian foreign minister.

Father Tom Uzhunnalil was captured from the southern Yemeni city of Aden by gunmen who killed at least 15 people at an old people’s home in an attack that was condemned by Pope Francis.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) said a delegation met Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj who said the government was working to secure the priest’s safe return.

“She has assured us Father Tom is safe and negotiations are on for his release which could happen very soon,” said Father Joseph Chinnaiyan, deputy secretary of the CBCI.

Media reports last week said the priest was killed by Islamic State militants on Good Friday, although no one has claimed responsibility for last month’s attack in which gunmen killed four Indian nuns, two Yemeni female staff members, eight elderly residents and a guard.

Father Chinnaiyan said the reports were inaccurate.

Aden has been racked by lawlessness since Hadi supporters, backed by Gulf Arab military forces, drove fighters of the Iran-allied Houthi group from the city in July last year.

International aid groups have pulled most of their foreign staff from Yemen due to security concerns.

Credits: Reuters

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Cholera Infection May Be on Edge in Yemen, says WHO

Yemen may be on edge of the deadly Cholera Epidemic, says World Health Organisation

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FILE - A Yemeni woman suspected of being infected with cholera receives treatment at a hospital in the capital Sanaa. VOA
FILE - A Yemeni woman suspected of being infected with cholera receives treatment at a hospital in the capital Sanaa. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns Yemen may be on the verge of another cholera epidemic, which could be deadlier than previous ones because of widespread malnutrition in the war-torn country.

Yemen has had two major waves of cholera epidemics in recent years.

The World Health Organization reports that an increasing number of cases in several heavily populated areas over the past few weeks indicate the country may be on the cusp of a third major wave of this deadly disease.

WHO’s emergency response chief, Peter Salama, told VOA another cholera epidemic is likely to be more life-threatening than the previous ones because the population is seriously weakened after three years of civil war. Fighting has been raging between the government and rebel forces.

FILE - Public health workers spray insecticide amid fears of a new cholera outbreak in Sanaa, Yemen. VOA
FILE – Public health workers spray insecticide amid fears of a new cholera outbreak in Sanaa, Yemen. VOA

“What we are likely to see is that interplay with cholera and malnutrition occurring more and more and food insecurity,” he said. “And, not only more cases because of that, but even higher death rates among the cholera cases that do occur because people just do not have the physical resources to fight the disease any longer.”

Also Read: WHO: Breastfeeding Gives Babies The Best Start in Life

The United Nations is calling for three days of tranquillity between August 4 and 6. It wants the warring parties to stop fighting during this period so WHO and its partners can carry out a massive oral cholera vaccination campaign.

Salama said 3,000 health workers are being mobilized in three districts in northern Yemen. Their aim is to vaccinate more than 500,000 individuals above the age of one. Last year, cholera cases in Yemen topped one million in the world’s worst outbreak of the disease. (VOA) 

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