Yemen: UN demands immediate end to aid diversion by Houthis

Sana’a: The United Nations (UN) has called for an immediate end to the diversion of food relief in Yemen after uncovering evidence of the practice in the capital, Sana’a, and other parts of the country controlled by the Ansarullah (Houthi) movement.

The World Food Programme (WFP), the UN’s food assistance branch, has uncovered evidence of relief distribution malpractices in Yemen’s capital and other regions controlled by the Houthis.

“During their checks, WFP monitors amassed photographic and other evidence of trucks illicitly removing food from designated food distribution centres. They also found that the selection of beneficiaries was being manipulated by local officials and that food distribution records were being falsified,” an official statement released on Monday (local time) noted.

“It was discovered that some food relief is being given to people not entitled to it and some is being sold for gain in the markets of the capital,” the release further mentioned.
The review was spurred by a WFP survey of registered beneficiaries and a WFP review conducted during recent months. The survey revealed that many in the capital have not been receiving the food rations to which they are entitled.

“What the checks unearthed was fraud being perpetrated by at least one local partner organisation tasked by WFP with handling and distributing its food assistance. The local organisation is affiliated with the de facto Ministry of Education in Houthi-controlled Sana’a,” the WFP revealed.

In the wake of the revelations, the WFP has reiterated its call for an overhaul of the relief system including “an ongoing push for more monitoring, reform of the beneficiary selection process to ensure that food gets to those most in need, and the nationwide introduction of biometric registration of beneficiaries”.

They also outlined that these changes have been repeatedly resisted by the “de facto” authorities in Houthi-controlled areas.

Millions of people depend on food assistance for their survival in Yemen which has been ravaged by raging strife between government forces and the Houthis.