Hunger in Yemen: WFP considers aid suspension in face of repeated interference by some Houthi leaders

UNOCHA/Giles Clarke Cereal from World Food Programme (WFP) stores in Dhubab, Taiz Gobernorate, Yemen.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The UN emergency food relief agency said on Monday that without full access and “freedom to decide” who receives lifesaving aid, in Houthi rebel-controlled areas of Yemen, it could be forced to implement a “phased suspension”.

In a statement, Senior Spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP), Herve Verhoosel, said that after more than four years of brutal conflict between Houthis and a Government-led coalition for control of the country, “our greatest challenge does not come from the guns” but instead “the obstructive and uncooperative role of some of the Houthi leaders in areas under their control.”

He said humanitarians working in Yemen were being denied access to the hungry, with aid convoys blocked, and local authorities interfering with who gets food.

‘This has to stop’

He said after repeated warnings to stop diverting food, progress with violators now needed to be made. “This phased suspension of WFP operations will be taken as a last resort and we will do everything within our powers to ensure that the weakest and most vulnerable – especially children – do not suffer.” He added that relief efforts which “directly target malnourished children and women will continue, in order to mitigate any regrettable impact that a partial suspension may have on their health and well-being. We owe this to the people of Yemen and our international donors who support our operation.”

The Senior Spokesperson noted that some of the Houthi leaders had made “positive commitments” and were working closely with WFP to allow a “fully independent humanitarian process of selecting the most needy” to become a reality. But others had “unfortunately broken assurances they gave us”.

He said a previous impasse with the Saudi-led coalition in 2017, had been successfully resolved over their refusal to allow new cranes and vital aid shipments into the crucial port of Hudaydah: “The coalition leaders listened and in time, the cranes were delivered, and the port was reopened to aid.”

WFP still hopes that good sense will prevail and a suspension will not happen”, said Mr. Verhoosel. “The ultimate responsibility for the welfare of their people lies with the Yemeni leadership.  If WFP is allowed to deliver an operation that meets minimum international standards, we are still ready to play our part and to ensure a better future for the millions of Yemenis who are struggling to feed their families.”

Around 360,000 children in Yemen are suffering severe acute malnutrition, and UN relief chief Mark Lowcock, told the Security Council last week that the “spectre of famine still looms”, with a resurgence of deadly cholera sickening 300,000 Yemenis this year alone.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Extra mild ECB tapering of QE and zero interest rates keep euro low

Civilians suffering due to sanctions must be spared ‘collective punishment’ urges UN rights expert

Where are the world’s nuclear weapons?

Commission renews its commitment to strengthen fundamental rights in the EU

This is what a smart city should do for its people

Prospect of negotiated peace in Afghanistan ‘never been more real’ – UN mission chief

Why COVID-19 could mean a new dawn for Nigeria’s manufacturing sector

EU and Amazon cut deal to end antitrust investigation over e-books deals

Public health: Stronger rules on medical devices

Human traffickers in Libya are posing as UN staff, says Refugee Agency

Climate change: won or lost in cities or by cities?

‘Historic’ new Syria talks should focus on relief for war-weary civilians, says UN negotiator

SRHR and ending HIV: Can one be achieved without the other?

Robots and chatbots can help alleviate the mental health epidemic

‘Don’t forget Madagascar’s children’, UN appeals for long-term help as emergency worsens

Is this a turning point in the fight against slavery?

The big five EU telecom operators in dire straights

UN summits to urge ‘ambition and action’ on climate change, sustainable development: Guterres

“China will strive to enhance the performance of economic growth”, President Xi highlights from the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos

How industrialisation could future-proof MENA’s Gulf economies

How tech is helping Egypt’s informal recyclers build a circular economy

Colombia is a Latin American success story, but must pursue new reforms to achieve stronger and more inclusive growth

More than half a million Rohingya in Bangladesh get ID cards for first time: UN refugee agency

Why do US presidential elections last so long? And 4 other things you need to know

Robots will soon be a necessity but they won’t take all our jobs

Berlin favours economic and social disintegration in certain Eurozone countries

Developing countries should not be liable for emissions ‘accumulated throughout history’, key UN development forum hears

How the textile industry can help countries recover from COVID-19

3 unexpected consequences of the US-China trade war

UN chief condemns killing of ‘blue helmets’ in DR Congo, as violence erupts prior to elections

Why the agtech boom isn’t your typical tech disruption

EU countries should ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health

6 data policy issues experts are tracking right now

UN monitoring team in Yemen verifies pullout of armed forces from crucial port zones

Conference on the Future of Europe: greater say for regions and social partners

European Institute of Innovation and Technology: Commission welcomes political agreement on strategy for 2021-2027

Secretary-General condemns attacks on UN peacekeepers in Mali

Norway has successfully enforced its foreign bribery laws but faces potential obstacles

More taxpayers’ money for the banks

The EU condemns Faroe Islands and Iceland to poverty

European Youth calls on European Council for urgent action on “humanitarian crisis” and questions the EU/Turkey deal respect of human rights

Parallel downfalls of Merkel and Deutsche Bank threaten Germany and Europe

Top UN officials sound alarm as Yemen fighting nears vital hospital in port city of Hudaydah

COP21 Breaking News: Conference of Youth Focuses on Hard Skills to Drive Greater Climate Action

This is what is still holding social entrepreneurs back

8 things we need to do to tackle humanitarian crises in 2019

This tool shows you which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

Social Committee slams the 28 EU leaders for false promises

Taxation: Commission refers Spain to the Court for imposing disproportionate sanctions for failure to report assets held abroad

The China-US trade deal will be signed on time; the path is set

These are the top 10 global causes of death – but two diseases are in decline

We need to bridge the education gap for refugees, says new UNHCR report 

The future of international election observation missions

Coronavirus response: Team Europe supports Somalia with three EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights

EU Budget: A Reform Support Programme and an Investment Stabilisation Function to strengthen Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union

High-Level Forum on providing protection to Afghans at risk

UN launches plan to promote peace, inclusive growth in Africa’s Sahel

UN human rights chief warns of women’s rights complacency

These are the pitfalls of a cash-free society

Can climate change wait for the US to rejoin the Paris agreement?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: