Food aid for Houthi-controlled Yemen to be halved

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Sanaa, April 10 (IANS) The World Food Programme (WFP) is set to halve aid to parts of Yemen’s Houthi-controlled areas due to a funding crisis, a media report said on Friday.

The WFP, a UN agency, feeds more than 12 million Yemenis a month, 80 per cent of whom were in areas controlled by Houthi forces, said the BBC report.
The Houthis seized control of much of the west of the country just over five years ago, since when it has been engaged in a conflict against forces backed by Saudi Arabia and eight other Arab states.
The conflict has created a major humanitarian crisis.
The UN has said that some donors have stopped their aid over concerns that deliveries were being obstructed by Houthi forces.
Lise Grande, the UN’s senior representative in Yemen, told the BBC that the lack of funds would affect every aspect of UN’s assistance in the world’s biggest humanitarian aid operation as the threat of coronavirus looms.
“It couldn’t come at a worse time with COVID-19 threatening.”
Yeman on Friday reported the first case of the novel coronavirus.
Some donors, including the US have already cut aid, claiming that donations were being obstructed and diverted in areas under Houthi control.
Some said there were long delays in permits and permissions and said staff had been harassed and detained.
However Houthi officials hit back accusing aid agencies, including WFP of corruption and mismanagement. Months of negotiations led to some changes however aid agencies say they are not enough.
A spokesperson for the UK’s Department for International Development told the BBC that it has not suspended aid.
However it was “extremely concerned that Houthi restrictions and interference in in the delivery of humanitarian assistance is now forcing donors and UN agencies to scale back their assistance in northern Yemen”.
A unilateral two-week ceasefire called by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Syria came into effect on Thursday.
The coalition said it wanted to support UN efforts for a political solution and help stop coronavirus spread.