Al Mukalla: Local health officials in Yemen’s southern province of Shabwa have said an outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever has killed 27 people while roughly 3,000 others have contracted the disease.

Officials warn that the disease is spiralling out of control amid a chronic shortage of drugs and insecticide.

“It is a disaster in the true sense of the word,” Saleh Al Humosi, the director of provincial office of the National Control Malaria Programme, told Gulf News on Friday.

“We cannot do anything to curb the rapid spread of the disease. In March, there were only six cases and we could have nipped the disease in bud if we received help at that time,” he said.

Shabwa’s health facilities broke down last year during when Iran-backed Al Houthi militants moved into the province. Thousands of army and security soldiers who remained loyal to the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh switched sides and backed the rebels.

“We want to focus now on preventive measures. We have intensified awareness campaigns but we are in dire need of insecticide, vital drugs, and fuel,” Al Humosi said.

Al Humosi said that lack of awareness among locals and the spread of sewage are the driving factors behind the outbreak of the disease.

“Our current mosquito control efforts are mainly funded by local charities. The government provided us with 1,500 litres of fuel. We appeal to the government and international aid organisations to help us fight off the disease.”

Previous waves of the disease killed dozens of people in war-ravaged cities like Taiz, Hodeida and Aden.

Meanwhile, the Yemen Journalist Syndicate on Friday mourned the death of a pro-government journalist who was covering the current fierce fighting between the government forces and Al Houthis in the northern province of Hajja. The Syndicate said the embedded journalist Abdul Kareem Al Jarbani was killed on Thursday night when he was covering clashes between government forces and Al Houthis.

Heavy battles broke out on Thursday morning in the city of Haradh when government forces launched an assault to recapture the city from Al Houthis.

In the capital Sana’a, a bomb exploded outside Bilal mosque in Hayel Street after Friday prayer. Residents said no one was hurt in the explosion.