The country is experiencing the world’s largest epidemic, and it has everything to do with the Arms Trade Treaty.
A sudden onset of severe diarrhea is usually the first symptom. Rapid fluid loss often leads to life-threatening dehydration. If left untreated, certain strains can cause death within hours. Those who survive initial symptoms must endure repeated vomiting, low blood pressure, extreme thirst and incapacitating nausea.
Cholera is one ugly disease. And more than half a million Yemenis are afflicted.
While cholera has been virtually eradicated in developed countries, Yemen is currently experiencing the largest epidemic in the world. Malnutrition, failing sanitation systems and the collapse of critical infrastructure have exacerbated the crisis.
On Sept. 13, the International Committee of the Red Cross warned that the number of cholera cases in Yemen could hit 850,000 before the end of the year. The same week, dozens of national delegations were in Geneva at the third Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty, considering matters related to the implementation of this landmark multilateral instrument.
And what does a cholera outbreak in Yemen have to do with the effective implementation of the ATT? Everything.