WFP begins ‘partial suspension’ of aid to Houthi-held areas in Yemen

The World Food Program (WFP) confirmed on Friday that it has started a "partial suspension" of aid to areas of Yemen controlled by Houthi rebel forces, including the capital Sana'a.

WFP Spokesperson Herve Verhoosel briefed journalists in Geneva that the UN food relief agency took the decision after efforts failed to prevent aid being diverted from those who need it most, despite repeated warnings.

In any conflict areas, some individuals seek to profit from preying on the vulnerable and diverting food away from where it is most needed," Verhoosel said.

WFP has been seeking the support of the Sana'a-based authorities to introduce a biometric registration system that would prevent diversion and protect the Yemeni families we serve, ensuring food reaches those who need it most. Unfortunately, we are yet to reach agreement, he added.

In a briefing in New York last Monday, WFP Executive Director David Beasley warned the Security Council that a suspension of aid was likely, because there was serious evidence that food was being misappropriated, and being taken from the mouths of hungry little boys and little girls, and that deals signed by Houthi leaders were being flouted on the ground.

Friday's development means that aid will be cut to the capital region, which could affect some 850,000 people; although Mr. Verhoosel insisted that WFP will maintain nutrition programs for malnourished children, pregnant and nursing mothers.

Source: International Islamic News Agency