Top United Nations officials on Wednesday slammed the warring parties in Yemen and their international allies for fuelling an unprecedented deadly cholera outbreak, driving millions closer to famine and hindering humanitarian aid access.
Since the end of April, the World Health Organisation said there have been more than 320,000 suspected cases of cholera - a disease that causes uncontrollable diarrhoea - and 1,742 deaths across more than 90 percent of the Arabian Peninsula country.
UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council on Wednesday the toll was likely much higher as aid workers could not reach remote areas of the impoverished, war-torn country.
"This cholera scandal is entirely man-made by the conflicting parties and those beyond Yemen's borders who are leading, supplying, fighting and perpetuating the fear and the fighting," said O'Brien, who is the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs.
He called on the 15-member Council to "lean much more heavily and effectively on the parties and those outside Yemen" to end the conflict and humanitarian crisis.
UN officials on Tuesday said that plans to ship as many as 1 million doses of cholera vaccine to Yemen are likely to be shelved over security, access and logistical challenges, even as the deadly caseload continues to balloon in parts of the country.
War has crippled Yemen’s health system, depleted access to safe drinking water and put millions on the brink of famine.
A Saudi Arabia-led coalition intervened in Yemen's civil war in 2015, backing government forces fighting Iran-allied Houthi rebels. The country, which relies heavily on imports for food, has become one of the UN's top humanitarian crises.
Yemen's economy has collapsed and 30,000 health workers have not been paid for more than 10 months, so the UN has stepped in with "incentive" payments to get them to help with the fight against cholera.
UN Yemen mediator Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told the Security Council a Saudi donation of $67 million had helped slow the spread of cholera and called on other donors to step up.