WFP announces partial suspension of Yemen aid to Houthi areas

The World Food Programme (WFP) announced Thursday (June 20th) the "partial suspension" of aid to Yemen's capital Sanaa, controlled by the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah), citing problems with "diversion of food" from the neediest.

The suspension would initially target Sanaa city only, affecting 850,000 people, the UN agency said in a statement. But nutrition programmes will remain in place for malnourished children, pregnant women and nursing mothers, AFP reported.

Ultimately, the suspension will affect all areas in Yemen "under the control of the Sanaa-based authorities".

The WFP said its decision was taken after negotiations stalled on an agreement "to introduce controls to prevent the diversion of food away from some of the most vulnerable people in Yemen," adding "some individuals seek to profit by preying on the vulnerable".

"WFP has been seeking the support of the Sanaa-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," said the agency.

"The integrity of our operation is under threat and our accountability to those we help has been undermined."

"Too many Yemenis have suffered for too long during this ongoing conflict. We will continue to seek co-operation from the Sanaa-based authorities and we remain optimistic that a way forward can be found," said the WFP.

"We are ready to immediately resume food distributions once we reach agreement on an independent beneficiary identification exercise and the roll out of a biometric registration system," it said.

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