ADEN, 6th January, 2019 (WAM) — The Houthi militia has seized and looted 65 percent of the humanitarian aid sent for the people of Yemen through the port of Hodeidah, according to the Yemeni Minister of Local Administration, Abdul Raqeeb Fatah.
“Over the past three years, the Houthis have been showing wilful disregard for the tough humanitarian circumstances being faced by the Yemeni people,” the minister, who is also the Chairman of the Higher Committee for Relief, told the Emirates News Agency, WAM.
“Under the pretext of ‘the war effort’, the militias plundered and seized by force 697 relief trucks using the roads linking Hodeida to Sanaa, Ibb, Taiz, Hajjah, and Dhamar, as well as goods entering the governorates under the Houthis’ control,” he added.
“In addition, they detained 88 relief and commercial vessels at Hodeidah and As Saleef ports, 34 of which had cargoes of (relief) goods that got spoiled and damaged from being held by the militias for more than six months,” he said The Minister urged international organisations to unify their efforts and bring a greater focus to their operations in Yemen, adopting a decentralised approach to ensure that the aid reaches eligible beneficiaries, taking into account the fact that they are operating in areas controlled by Houthi militias.
He emphasised the importance of relief agencies having offices in Aden and of the need to open five administrative and main relief centres in Aden, Sanaa, Mukalla, Tihama and Marib, in order to reduce the impact of Houthis’ looting of humanitarian aid and ensure a fair distribution of relief assistance throughout the country.
“The deplorable human conditions in Yemen are a natural result of the coup staged by the Houthis against the legitimate government and of their acts of depredations, he added. “These have resulted in the triggering of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis by blocking the course of aid and pushing the country to the brink of starvation.”
Commenting on a report from the World Food Programme, WFP, that accuses the Houthis of stealing and misusing humanitarian aid in Sanaa and the rest of the territories under their control, the Yemeni minister said the report has exposed to the world the inhuman practices of the Houthis and their disregard of the Yemeni people.
Several Yemeni citizens told WAM about the suffering imposed on them by the Houthi looting of aid sent by international humanitarian agencies to the territories under their control.
“The Houthis are willfully pushing Yemen to the brink of starvation,” Tarek Radwan said, while Sadeq Mohammed said that: “Their malpractices reflect the grudges they hold against Yemen and its people.”
Two other local residents, Nasser Abdul Salam and Nabil Ali, said that the Houthis should be held accountable for depriving the people of the food aid provided by international organisations. They said that the Houthis should be punished for their looting of humanitarian aid, which, they said, had worsened the suffering of Yemeni families, especially children, women and the elderly.
According to a statement issued by the Higher Committee for Relief, the Houthi militias had committed more than 185 violations, kidnapped more than 25 relief workers and forcibly held in October 2018 51,000 tonnes of wheat provided by the WFP, which were intended to meet the needs of more than 3.7 million people for a period of over four months. They had also forcefully detained four relief and oil-supply vessels in Hodeidah and As Saleef ports, while in Marib they had bombed four relief trucks from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, which were carrying aid for needy people in Al-Bayda governorate, according to the statement.
The Houthis had also burned the WFP’s warehouses, destroying more than 4,000 tonnes of wheat, and had stormed the WFP’s stores on four occasions in different locations as well as using some of the buildings next to the warehouses for military purposes, the statement from the Higher Committee for Relief said.