UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen Lise Grande called on parties to the conflict in the country to allow humanitarian workers to work freely and unconditionally and immediately access to the needy people, and described the process of securing access to the Red Sea Mills in the province of Hodeida as "long, difficult and frustrating."
Grande said in statement seen by "Debriefer" news agency: "In view of the danger posed to many lives, everyone must do everything in their power to ensure that humanitarian partners are free, unconditional and immediate access to those who need and deserve our assistance.
She stressed: "Preventing humanitarian workers from performing their functions by diverting resources, delaying funding, preventing access or intervening in assessments, targeting and monitoring is unacceptable."
"The truth is that thousands and thousands of people may not live until we reach them," said the Humanitarian Coordinator.
Securing access to the Mills has been a long, difficult and frustrating process,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. “We’ve tried and tried and tried to get into the facility. It’s a relief that we have finally been given the green light to use an existing corridor. It is very positive that the parties have taken this step.”
WFP Yemen Country Director Stephen Anderson said: "The situation in Yemen remains deeply precarious. We know that our assistance has been critical in averting a famine in Yemen, but the scale of the need remains huge and every grain of wheat is vitally needed”
On 5 May, a UN technical team led by the World Food Programme (WFP) gained access to the Red Sea Mills on the eastern outskirts of Hodeida City as part of initial efforts to salvage a stock of 51,000 metric tons of wheat flour stored at the facility. The Mills have been inaccessible for the last eight months due to intense fighting, according to statement.
Sources familiar with the matter said the WFP-led team traveled from the government-held southern port city of Aden along the western coast, avoiding Houthi-controlled areas after the group denied them access from the north, which it controls.
At the end of February, the UN World Food Program's wheat stored in the Hodeida-based Red Sea Mills has weevil infection as expected, the Program said on Wednesday, stressing the need for purifying the wheat.
Yemen has been racked by an armed conflict that broke out after the Iranian-backed Houthis 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, triggering the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN, with most of the population in need for a type of humanitarian aid and immediate protection.
The port city of Hodeida and its ports have been under Houthi control since late 2014, while Yemeni joint forces loyal to legitimate government and Arab coalition have massed at the city's fringes seeking to retake the strategic port.