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Ο αποκλεισμός από τη Σαουδική Αραβία προκαλεί μαζική επιδημία χολέρας στην Υεμένη

Τον Μάρτιο, ο συνασπισμός υπό την ηγεσία της Σαουδικής Αραβίας - ο οποίος έχει διεξάγει έναν θανατηφόρο πόλεμο στην Υεμένη από το 2015 - προχώρησε στην επέκταση του ναυτικού αποκλεισμού του Al Hudaydah, του μεγαλύτερου λιμένα της Υεμένης. Η κίνηση προκάλεσε την ανησυχία των Ηνωμένων Εθνών, καθώς και του Ρωσικού Υπουργείου Εξωτερικών, με το τελευταίο να προειδοποιεί ότι η επιχείρηση δεν θα οδηγούσε αναπόφευκτα μόνο σε μαζική έξοδο του τοπικού πληθυσμού, αλλά θα απόκοβε de facto και την πρωτεύουσα της Υεμένης, Sanaa από προμήθειες τροφίμων και ανθρωπιστική βοήθειας.

Αυτές οι προειδοποιήσεις φαίνεται να επαληθεύονται, καθώς μια μαζική επιδημία χολέρας έχει ήδη αρχίσει να ξεφεύγει από τον έλεγχο μετά από δύο εβδομάδες. Από τότε που ξεκίνησε, έχουν επιβεβαιωθεί 942 θάνατοι που σχετίζονται με τη χολέρα και την περασμένη εβδομάδα ο αριθμός των νέων διαγνωσθέντων περιπτώσεων έχει εκτοξευθεί στις 5.470 την ημέρα, σύμφωνα με τη διεθνή ΜΚΟ Save the Children. Πάνω από 300.000 κρούσματα αναμένονται τους προσεχείς μήνες και ο αντίστοιχος ημερήσιος αριθμός θανάτων από την ασθένεια αναμένεται να αυξηθεί. Σήμερα, περίπου 30 άνθρωποι πεθαίνουν καθημερινά από χολέρα στην Υεμένη.

Ενώ, κανονικά, η χολέρα αντιμετωπίζεται εύκολα και με χαμηλό κόστος, ο συνεχιζόμενος αποκλεισμός των από τους Σαουδάραβες και οι συνεχείς βομβαρδισμοί σε μη στρατιωτικές υποδομές - ιδιαίτερα νοσοκομεία- έχουν εξασθενήσει το σύστημα υγείας της Υεμένης με αποτέλεσμα να μην μπορεί να αντιμετωπίσει την κρίση χολέρας. Από την πρώτη εισβολή της Σαουδικής Αραβίας, περισσότερες από 270 εγκαταστάσεις υγείας έχουν υποστεί ζημιές ή έχουν καταστραφεί. Οι περισσότερες από τις εκτιμώμενες 3.500 υγειονομικές εγκαταστάσεις της Υεμένης είναι κλειστές, ή, υπολειτουργούν.

Η εξάπλωση και η σοβαρότητα της επιδημίας έχουν επηρεαστεί επίσης από μια εξασθενημένη αντίδραση του ανοσοποιητικού συστήματος που προκαλείται από την εκτεταμένη πείνα - ένα άλλο αποτέλεσμα του μπλοκαρίσματος και του συνεχιζόμενου πολέμου. Περισσότεροι από τους μισούς κατοίκους της Υεμένης δεν έχουν επαρκή πρόσβαση σε τρόφιμα. Σύμφωνα με εκτιμήσεις του ΟΗΕ, περισσότερα από 370.000 παιδιά ηλικίας κάτω των πέντε ετών υποφέρουν από σοβαρό υποσιτισμό και τώρα επηρεάζονται δυσανάλογα από την επιδημία.

Ο αυξανόμενος ρυθμός μόλυνσης από τη χολέρα θεωρείται επίσης ότι συνδέεται με την έλλειψη πρόσβασης των κατοίκων της Υεμένης σε καθαρό νερό, μια βασική ανάγκη, την οποία, περισσότερο από το 60% των κατοίκων αναγκάστηκαν να στερηθούν. Η χολέρα μεταδίδεται σε μεγάλο βαθμό από μολυσμένη τροφή και νερό.

Ωστόσο, οι Σαουδάραβες είναι απίθανο να αντιμετωπίσουν σημαντικές διεθνείς αντιδράσεις για το ρόλο τους στη δημιουργία της κρίσης της χολέρας, παρά το γεγονός ότι χρησιμοποιούν τον αποκλεισμό της ανθρωπιστικής βοήθειας ως όπλο ενάντια στον λαό της Υεμένης. Χάρη στην αμφιλεγόμενη τοποθέτηση των Σαουδαράβων στο Συμβούλιο Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων των Ηνωμένων Εθνών, είναι απίθανο να αντιμετωπίσουν αντίποινα για τα εγκλήματα πολέμου, ειδικά επειδή ο πρεσβευτής της Σαουδικής Αραβίας στα Ηνωμένα Έθνη στη Γενεύη λειτουργεί ως πρόεδρος μιας βασικής ομάδας 'ανεξάρτητων' εμπειρογνωμόνων στο Συμβούλιο Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων του ΟΗΕ.

Και ενώ οι Σαουδάραβες είναι ο κύριος ένοχος πίσω από την άνευ προηγουμένου καταστροφή που εκτυλίσσεται τώρα στην Υεμένη, ο πλέον εξέχων σύμμαχός τους - οι Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες - όχι μόνο βοήθησε τους Σαουδάραβες, αλλά και κινήθηκε προκειμένου να αναλάβει έναν πιο άμεσο ρόλο στην καταστροφή της Υεμένης. Στα τέλη Απριλίου, ο υπουργός Άμυνας James Mattis ανακοίνωσε ότι οι Η.Π.Α. θα βοηθήσουν την εκστρατεία βομβαρδισμών της Σαουδικής Αραβίας και θα επιδιώξουν επίσης να αυξήσουν τη στρατιωτική βοήθεια προς τη Σαουδική Αραβία.

Στα τέλη Μαΐου, ο Αμερικανός πρόεδρος, Donald Trump, επέβλεψε την πώληση 110 δισεκατομμυρίων δολαρίων σε όπλα στη Σαουδική Αραβία, μια συμφωνία που η Γερουσία των ΗΠΑ δεν μπόρεσε να μπλοκάρει, παρά την διακομματική υποστήριξη και την αυξανόμενη αντίδραση ενάντια στη συμμαχία ΗΠΑ-Σαουδικής Αραβίας.

Καθώς η Υεμένη αντιμετωπίζει την πλήρη κατάρρευση και μια άνευ προηγουμένου απώλεια του πληθυσμού της από αιτίες που μπορούν να αποφευχθούν, ο πόλεμος υπό την ηγεσία της Σαουδικής Αραβίας και με την υποστήριξη των Η.Π.Α, αποτελεί απόδειξη μιας πολιτικής "καμένης γης" που απειλεί να καταστρέψει ολόκληρη την περιοχή.

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