Yemen's growing cholera epidemic may accelerate looming famine, as limited resources are shifted away from malnutrition and other programs to try to contain the disease, the top U.N. aid official in the country said on Tuesday.
A two-year war by the Western-backed Saudi-led coalition has led to a "system-wide collapse in the economy" and health system, said Jamie McGoldrick, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.
Some 313,533 suspected cholera cases and 1,732 deaths have been recorded since the outbreak began in late April, according to the latest U.N. figures that show a "spike", he said.
"This epidemic is spreading further and faster than anything we've seen before," McGoldrick, speaking from Amman, told a Geneva news briefing.
"What will happen is that this cholera outbreak will in fact exacerbate the conditions and the threat of famine in more places than ever in the country," he said.