While the United Nations blamed transportation difficulties on the massive delay in distributing cholera vaccines in Yemen, sources told the Associated Press the delay was caused by Houthi rebels in the north and the government in the south blocking the vaccine distribution or taking part in corruption practices. Houthi rebels in the north reportedly claimed cholera vaccines were not effective, so they would not permit them in their controlled territory. Later, the rebels reportedly attempted to bargain with the U.N. for “money and equipment” in exchange for the vaccine's distribution during the massive outbreak. In the U.S. and Saudi-backed south, the U.N. was able to get a shipment of vaccines to the southern city of Aden. However, some of the vaccination teams who were meant to distribute the vaccines reportedly only “existed only on paper” and workers claimed they never got their full stipend for the distribution program. Some of the resources for cholera vaccination and treatment in the country were reportedly stolen or sold on the black market.
This comes as the outbreak—which has reportedly caused 1 million suspected cases of cholera—has hit a new surge in 2019, with about 150,000 reported cholera cases and almost 300 deaths since the beginning of this year.