Yemeni measles outbreak could worsen

More than 150 Yemeni children under the age of five have died as a result of measles infections since mid-2011.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently announced the impact of a measles epidemic in Yemen. The U.N. said that 3,800 new cases have been reported since January 2011. If left unchecked, the U.N. said an estimated 30,000 children could be infected and 5,000 could die every year, according to the Examiner.

The U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund recently authorized the release of $5 million to support the creation of an immunization program, with the World Health Organization contributing $2.6 million and the U.N. Children's Fund contributing $2.4 million.

"The steep increase in measles incidents over the last three and a half months is due to the decline in immunization coverage and disruption in access to basic social services in most parts of the country during the civil unrest," OCHA said, the Examiner reports. "Mortality due to measles is already very high and will increase further, especially if compounded with a rise in acute watery diarrhea and increasing rates of malnutrition."

The U.N. said that many families have been living on the run as a result of internal warfare.