BFF-33 WFP accuses Houthi rebels of diverting humanitarian aid

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YEMEN-WAR-UN

WFP accuses Houthi rebels of diverting humanitarian aid

ROME, Dec 31, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The UN World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday
accused Houthi rebels of “criminal behaviour” in diverting humanitarian aid
in war-stricken Yemen and threatened to end cooperation with them.

A large part of the food aid meant to help residents in the capital Sanaa
has not reached them, the Rome-based WFP said in a statement.

Instead, reports had established some of the food had been put on sale in
Sanaa markets by a rebel-controlled organisation which the WFP had entrusted
to distribute the aid in the city.

The WFP said similar cases had been reported in other areas of the country
controlled by the rebels.

“This conduct amounts to the stealing of food from the mouths of hungry
people,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley said in the statement.

“At a time when children are dying in Yemen because they haven’t enough
food to eat, that is an outrage. This criminal behaviour must stop
immediately,” Beasely said.

He also called on the Houthi authorities “to take immediate action to end
the diversion of food assistance.”

“Unless this happens, we’ll have no option but to cease working with those
who’ve been conspiring to deprive large numbers of vulnerable people of the
food on which they depend,” he said.

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi-supported government agreed a
ceasefire which went into effect on December 18 but tensions remain high amid
charges of bad faith by both sides.

Years of civil war have devastated Yemen, leaving perhaps 20 million people
in need of food aid, according to the UN.

BSS/AFP/RY/1935 hrs