UN warns aid to Yemen could be suspended

The UN's World Food Programme has warned aid could be suspended to areas of Yemen under the control of the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) unless they abide by accords aimed at ensuring supplies are not diverted, AFP reported Monday (May 20th).

If the accords are not carried out as agreed, "WFP will be left with no option but to suspend food distributions" in the areas controlled by the Houthis, WFP executive director David Beasley wrote in a letter sent to the militia.

The WFP signed the accords with the warring parties in December and January.

The letter was hand-delivered to the Houthi leadership in Yemen, WFP Geneva office spokesman Herve Verhoosel said Monday.

It was "the second letter WFP has sent requesting greater access", he said.

"WFP noted some progress after the first letter was sent in December, but in recent weeks that progress has halted and in some cases it has been reversed," he said.

The WFP's greatest challenge in Yemen "is the obstructive and uncooperative role of some of the Houthi leaders in areas under their control", the agency said.

"Humanitarian workers in Yemen are being denied access to the hungry, aid convoys have been blocked, and local authorities have interfered with food distribution," the WFP said in a statement.

"Most importantly, there have been repeated obstacles placed in the way of our independent selection of beneficiaries and a request for a rollout of a biometric registration system," the agency said, adding that "this has to stop".

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