Dozens of doctors, professors, and officials among the victims of COVID-19 and other epidemics in Aden
Yemen’s interim capital is facing an unprecedented rise in daily reported deaths suspected of being due to COVID-19 and several other diseases endemic in the country. Among the more than 800 total deaths recorded by the Civil Status Department in Aden between the beginning of May and Saturday, dozens of the deceased are prominent doctors, university professors, and senior government officials.
The head of the Civil Status and Civil Registry Department, Maj. Gen. Sanad Jamil, said that 86 people died on Saturday alone, indicating that the number of deaths in the southern city continues to mount. The department is tasked with issuing burial permits, and Jamil previously told Almasdar Online that prior to the month of May, the number of burial permits issued per day in Aden was between 9 and 12.
While comprehensive statistics for the causes of death remain lacking, and therefore uncertainty remains surrounding what proportion of the rise in deaths in Aden is attributable to COVID-19, statistics released by the Emergency Care Center at the Cuban Hospital in northern Aden indicate that several other epidemics and diseases are significant contributors to the death rate.
The Cuban Hospital announced that during a 48-hour period ending on Friday, the hospital had received 582 patients suffering from fevers. The hospital, which opened an emergency center for the treatment of fevers on May 12, said that the number one disease the patients are suffering from is chikungunya, a virus spread by infected mosquitoes and known locally as “Mukarfes.” In total, over one third of the fever patients (212) were recorded as having that disease, followed by dengue fever (151), respiratory infections (90), malaria (78), diarrhea (8), and urinary tract infections (7).
The number of cases reported to the Cuban Hospital with symptoms similar to COVID-19 was reported as being 35 during the two-day period, including one death.
Almasdar Online contacted the Director of the Health Office in Aden, Dr. Jamal Khadabesh, for comment on the number epidemic-related deaths in Aden but did not receive a response as of the time of publishing.
Social media and local news sites in Aden have exploded with messages of condolence and stories of the many community leaders and social figures that have died, including Dr. Abdul Raqeeb Bin Atiyah, who is known affectionately by residents of Crater district in Aden as the “doctor of the poor.”
A resident in Aden who is infected with COVID-19, who spoke to Almasdar Online on condition of anonymity, said that many doctors and health professionals have lost their own lives while struggling to save the lives of others, working in quarantine centers without proper equipment.
“One of the nurses who was following my condition at Al-Amal Hospital suddenly stopped looking after me and I was told that he died last week after falling ill,” the resident said.
Among the individuals whose deaths have been reported or suspected of being caused by various epidemics and diseases in Aden during the first half of May, are also many prominent professors, officials, and other respected figures.
Below is a non-exhaustive list Almasdar Online compiled of well-known community figures and officials that have died in Aden since the beginning of May, and who are believed to have died from various epidemics and other diseases in Aden, including COVID-19:
1. Judge Jamal Salem Mohammed Ismail, deputy head of the Judicial Inspectorate
2. Judge Mohamed Ali Saleh, chief of criminal prosecution in Aden
3. Dr. Fahmy Mohammed Mansour, Undersecretary of the Central Authority for Oversight and Accounting
4. Brig. Gen. Ahmed Amabad Nasser, director general of criminal evidence at the Ministry of Interior
5. Moqbel Mohsen Ali Al-Qutaibi, head of the Local Authority Department in the cabinet
6. Khaled Al-Hammadi, director of the Department of Pensions in Aden
7. Ali Abdul Majid, acting director of Sheikh Othman district
8. Dr. Zafer Abdul Habib, professor of comparative jurisprudence at the University of Aden
9. Dr. Saleh Al-Soufi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and professor of educational management
10. Dr. Younis Anis, a neurologist and head of the neurology unit at the University of Aden.
11. Dr. Ibtihal Hammoud, gynecologist and obstetrician
12. Dr. Adel Al-Souri, dentist
13. Dr. Abdul Raqeeb Bin Atiyah, known by residents of Crater district as the “doctor of the poor”
14. Dr. Mona Obeid, professor in the Faculty of Education
15. Dr. Abu Bakr Salem, professor of medicine and radiology
16. Dr. Najat Abdul Wali, professor of statistics, Faculty of Science
17. Dr. Najib Medla, professor of chemistry, Faculty of Science
18. Aref Mohammed Noman, managing officer of the Water Foundation in Aden
19. Dr. Ahmed Bin Atef, pharmacist
20. Dhikri Qasim Jawhar, journalist at the 14th October Foundation
21. Nizar Abbas, professor in the Faculty of Science
As the number of deaths rise and amid ongoing conflict between Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC), the health sector in Aden is struggling to keep up.
Last Thursday, the STC, whose forces control the city, ordered a lockdown in Crater district and the start of a three-day full curfew, but local sources in Aden’s Old City said the decision was not implemented and transportation to and from the district continued and local markets remained open.
Edited by Alkhatab Alrawhani