Date :Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019 | Time : 09:07 |ID: 82287 | Print

Yemen: The problem of lost and stolen food aid as people face famine

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SHAFAQNA Inspite Billions of dollars in food and other foreign aid are coming into war-ravaged Yemen , it is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years, because food often isn’t getting to people who need it most.

Across Yemen, factions and militias on all sides of the conflict have blocked food aid from going to groups suspected of disloyalty, diverted it to front-line combat units or sold it for profit on the black market, according to public records and confidential documents obtained by the AP and interviews with more than 70 aid workers, government officials and average citizens from six different provinces.

Documents reviewed by The Associated Press and interviews with al-Hakimi a humanitarian official in Taiz and other officials and aid workers show that thousands of families in Taiz are not getting international food aid intended for them — often because it has been seized by armed units that are allied with the Saudi-led, American-backed military coalition fighting in Yemen.

“The army that should protect the aid is looting the aid,” al-Hakimi told the AP.

The problem of lost and stolen aid is common in Taiz and other areas controlled by Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which is supported by the Saudi-led military coalition. It is even widespread in territories controlled by the Houthi rebels.

The World Food Program on Monday threatened to suspend some aid shipments to Yemen if the rebels did not investigate and stop theft and fraud in food distribution, warning that the suspension would affect some 3 million people, dailysabah reported.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthi’s Supreme Revolutionary Council, said “we were surprised” by the allegations from the World Food Program, which he said “did not communicate officially” with the rebels. He said the decision to go to the media was “a major deviation in the work of the program.”

He called on the WFP to back up its accusations with proof.

Al-Houthi also accused the U.N. agency of sending “rotten food” to the war-torn country, saying authorities refused to allow that food in because “it violates standards and regulations and is not suitable for human consumption”, Yahoo reported.

“The work of these organizations is mostly politicized … and this situation reflects that their work has shifted from independent to subordinate to the United States and Britain,” he said.

The fate of the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah is at the centre of a UN-backed ceasefire agreement between the Houthis and pro-government forces.

The transfer of the port of Hodeidah and two others is part of a peace deal reached in Sweden earlier this month, aimed at ending almost four years of war which has caused a humanitarian disaster.

The United Nations has accused both sides of failing to honour the terms of the deal, which called for all sides to withdraw from the port city, Aljazeera reported.


Read more from Shafaqna:

Video: Millions of Yemeni children face Famine

Food being used as weapon of war in Yemen says WFP

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