Aid To Yemen Could Be Suspended, Warns UN

Men Delivering UN World Food Program Aid

Men Delivering UN World Food Program Aid

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Yemen has been in a civil war since 2014, when a group known as the Houthi rebels wrested control of the country and sent the official government into exile. Almost immediately, a Saudi-led coalition of countries backed by the US, UK, and France began bombings with the express intent of returning the country to its previous government. However, nearly four years of constant fighting has been devastating on the civilian population, with buildings and roads constantly being destroyed, medical care and clean water becoming inaccessible to many, and the price of food and fuel skyrocketing. The UN estimates that 5 million Yemenis are currently starving or on the brink of starvation, with 24 million total in need of some sort of humanitarian aid.

The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) an organization providing food and assistance to civilians, says that it may suspend aid to Houthi-controlled areas due to a lack of cooperation from the rebels: “Humanitarian workers in Yemen are being denied access to the hungry, aid convoys have been blocked, and local authorities have interfered with food distribution. This has to stop.”

The WFP claimed that they faced resistance in their efforts to roll out a biometric system that would allow them to identify the people most in need of aid, and more importantly that Houthi leaders were diverting food shipments meant for the people of Yemen. After being unable to reach an agreement with Houthi leadership, the WFP stated that they had “reluctantly reached the conclusion that unless progress is made on previous agreements we will have to implement a phased suspension of aid.”

However, no food shipments have stopped just yet. The WFP maintains that they are “still ready to play [their] part and to ensure a better future for the millions of Yemenis who are struggling to feed their families.”