Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

UN to resume food deliveries to Yemen's rebel-held areas after Eid

Decision follows Houthi guarantees that aid will reach its intended beneficiaries

A UN aid distribution centre in Hodeidah, Yemen. Reuters
A UN aid distribution centre in Hodeidah, Yemen. Reuters

The United Nations said it will resume food deliveries in areas held by Yemen's Houthi rebels, starting in the capital Sanaa next week, after a two month pause.

The World Food Programme had halted aid distribution in Houthi-controlled territory in June after accusing the rebels of being responsible for "diversion of food" meant for Yemeni civilians.

But the Houthis offered guarantees of aid reaching its intended beneficiaries of aid in a deal signed last week, the UN agency said.

"WFP will resume food distributions following the Eid Al Adha festival for the 850,000 people in Sanaa City who have not received food rations from WFP for the last two months," WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel told reporters in Geneva on Friday.

The Eid festival begins on Sunday and continues until Wednesday.

Mr Verhoosel added that WFP would also start impementing a biometric registration system for nine million people that would help to identify legitimate beneficiaries of food aid in rebel-held areas.

Yemen's internationally recognised government led by President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi this week called for full disclosure by the UN of its activities in the country after it was revealed that the global body was conducting an internal investigation into alleged wrongdoing by some its aid workers in the country.

The employees were accused of enriching themselves from the theft of donations of food, medical supplies and money, according to a report by the Associated Press.

"Since the start of the war the government has warned, various times, about the suspicious role of the UN operations in Houthi-held areas, especially by supporting the rebels and prolonging the conflict," Hamza Al Kamali, Yemen’s deputy youth minister, told The National.

“The AP report revealed shocking information, the UN must disclose full details of what the report found and punish the culprits,” he said.

The UN says Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with 24.1 million people, or about 80 per cent of the population, in need of aid after the Iran-backed Houthis have been fighting government forces supported by a Saudi-led coalition since March 2015.

Updated: August 9, 2019 06:46 PM

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