UN: Houthis blocking our access to aid warehouses

New York (Debriefer)
2019-02-07 | Since 1 Week

Aid enough to feed millions of starving Yemenis, in the Red Sea Mills, at risk of spoilage

اضغط هنا لقراءة الخبر بالعربية

The Houthis are refusing to allow UN aid agencies to cross front lines and reach the Red Sea Mills, which are located in a government-controlled area in Hodeida and containing grain enough to feed millions of starving civilians, said UN aid chief Mark Lowcock on Thursday.

Houthis attributed their refusal to security concerns, the UN official added.

Lowcock expressed deep concerns about inaccessibility by UN, since last September, to the Red Sea Mills, to the east of Hodeida City that has been the since of fierce battles between Yemeni internationally recognized government and Houthi rebels.

"Access to the mills grows ever urgent as time passes and the risk of spoilage to the remaining grain increases," said the UN chief in a statement, as some 10 million people across Yemen on brink of famine. "No one gains of that situation, but starving millions suffer."

Last month, two silos at the Red Sea Mills were hit by mortar shells, sparking a fire that destroyed some of the grain, probably enough to feed hundreds of thousands of people for a month, the UN said.

"I implore all parties, in particular Ansar Allah affiliated groups, to finalize an agreement and facilitate access to the mills in the coming days," the UN official urged.

He stated that the UN and humanitarian partners have expanded their work to outreach 12 million people with emergency food aid, with an increase of 50 percent compared to 2018 targets.

The World Food Program, as of last December, reached more than 10 million people, the UN official claimed, an unprecedented achievement.

But, he said Houthis are still putting stumbling block to access to people in need in rebel-held areas, where the UN "can save large numbers of people."

On the 31st of last December, the United Nations' WFP directly accused Houthi rebels of fraud and thieving food aid intended for millions of Yemeni people in need and selling them at markets in rebel-held provinces and cities in north of the country.

WFP director David Beasley said after the Program learnt many people in the Houthi-controlled capital, Sana'a, have not been getting food, its own investigation had found "evidence of trucks illicitly removing food from designated food distribution center" in Houthi-controlled areas as well as fraud by a local food aid distributer connected to the Houthis' Education Ministry.

"These incidents of fraud amount to stealing food from the mouths of hungry Yemeni children," Beasley was quoted then as saying while "children are dying in Yemen because they do not have enough to eat.. It's a disgrace, criminal, it's wrong, and it needs to end."

Battles flared at the beginning of last November in and around the western port city of Hodeida, with Yemeni joint forces backed by the Saudi-led military coalition seeking to take control of the strategic harbor from the Iranian-backed Houthi Group.

Yemen has been racked by an armed conflict that broke out after the Houthi rebels had ousted the internationally recognized government late in 2014.

The conflict escalated after a Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily in the country in March 2015 to reinstate the government of President Hadi, leaving tens of thousands killed, hundreds of thousands injured, and 3 million displaced.

The war has also pushed the country to the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN, with more than two thirds of the 28-million population in need for a type of humanitarian aid and immediate protection, including 8.4 million people unsure how to get next meal, and some 2 million children suffering severe shortage of nutrition.

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