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The United Nations has warned that Yemen is now facing the worst cholera outbreak anywhere in the world.

A statement by UNICEF and the WHO says the number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has exceeded 200,000.

So far more than 1,300 people have died – one quarter of them children – with the death toll expected to rise.

UNICEF and the WHO say they are doing everything they can to stop the outbreak from accelerating.

Image source Al Jazeera

“We are now facing the worst cholera outbreak in the world,” the statement says.

“In just two months, cholera has spread to almost every governorate of this war-torn country,” it says, with an estimated 5,000 new cases every day.

The country’s health, water and sanitation systems are collapsing after two years of war between government forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the rebel Houthi movement.

The Houthi rebels control much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

Hospitals are overcrowded and severe food shortages have led to widespread malnutrition, making Yemenis – especially children – even more vulnerable to cholera.

The UN says it is deploying rapid-response teams to go house-to-house telling people how to protect themselves by cleaning and storing drinking water. However, clean water is in short supply.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera.

Most of those infected will have no or mild symptoms but, in severe cases, the disease can kill within hours if left untreated.

The war has left 18.8 million of Yemen’s 28 million people needing humanitarian assistance and almost seven million on the brink of famine.

The UN Security Council has warned over South Sudan’s food crisis as the worst in the world, calling for urgent action.

It said there was a “catastrophic food insecurity” in South Sudan, urging donor nations who pledged $618 million in aid to make good on their promise.

More than 50,000 of children may die of hunger in South Sudan unless international help increased

More than 50,000 of children may die of hunger in South Sudan unless international help increased (photo Getty Images)

The UN children’s fund, UNICEF, said some four million – a third of the population – could be affected.

It said that 50,000 children may die of hunger in South Sudan unless international help increased.

More than a million people have fled their homes since fighting erupted between different factions of South Sudan’s ruling party last December.

Thousands have now died in the conflict that started as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar but has since escalated into ethnic violence.

Months of fighting have prevented farmers from planting or harvesting crops, causing food shortages nationwide.

South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, topped the list of fragile states in this year’s index released by The Fund for Peace, a leading US-based research institute.

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Two suicide attacks in the Syrian province of Hama killed at least 18 people, including 11 children, state media has reported.

It said the “terrorist explosions” took place in Jibrin – north-east of Hama city – and al-Humeiri.

The villages are under the control of the government.

The attack comes days after scores of people were killed and injured in explosions in government-controlled parts of the central city of Homs.

There has so far been no claim of responsibility for the bombings, correspondents say, but al-Qaeda affiliated rebels of Al-Nusra Front have carried out several car bombings in recent weeks.

Human rights groups say that both the government of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels fighting to depose him are killing civilians.

Human rights groups say that both the government of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels fighting to depose him are killing civilians

Human rights groups say that both the government of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels fighting to depose him are killing civilians (photo Reuters)

Hama saw some of the largest demonstrations against Bashar al-Assad in the first months of the Syrian uprising after March 2011.

In late summer 2011, security forces stormed the city and have maintained control ever since.

Hama’s main city occupies a significant place in the history of modern Syria.

In 1982, then-President Hafez al-Assad, father of Bashar, sent in troops to quell an uprising by the Sunni opposition Muslim Brotherhood. Tens of thousands were killed and the city flattened.

The violence in Hama province comes as the government subjects rebel-held areas in the northern city of Aleppo to fierce aerial bombardment as its forces try to end a long-standing stalemate in the city.

On Thursday at least 33 people were killed in an air strike on a market in the northern Halak district of the city.

The strike outraged The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which described it as the “latest wave of indiscriminate attacks perpetrated against schools and other civilian targets” across Syria.