Yemeni relief sources in northwestern governorate of Hajjah reported that Houthi militias have seized large amounts of aid provided by the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) and prevented its distribution to needy groups.
Sources, who requested anonymity, reported that members of the Houthi group threatened WFP officers with destroying 175 tons of UN-sent wheat. Houthis said that the wheat was allegedly not safe for human consumption.
The Iran-backed militia deployed gunmen to guard large WFP warehouses in the Abs district, where the largest population concentration is present in Hajjah Governorate. The district hosts thousands of uprooted and needy families.
Houthis also claimed to have seized six WFP convoys transferring 3,300 flour stacks. The group argued that the flour was inedible for humans.
Yemeni sources believe that fierce Houthi attacks against UN agencies and international relief organizations recently escalated following the Houthi leader's speeches against these organizations.
The Houthi-appointed director of the Supreme Council for Administration and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and International Cooperation in Hajjah governorate, Allan Fadael, said that the council received a notification, on March 11th, from the joint operations room in the governorate, that there is a locomotive and 21 trucks carrying food aid belonging to the WFP in front of At-taj store in Abs district.
Relief sources accused Houthis of attempting to plunder the aid shipment.
Fadael said that the convoy will not be destroyed and will remain in its place.
In Taiz governorate, Houthis recently seized 160 tons of internationally-sent wheat and burned it down under the pretext that it was not fit for human consumption, an act condemned by the internationally recognized government.
“The Ministry of Local Administration has denounced Houthis for burning 160 tons of wheat in Taiz provided by the WFP, describing it as an additional grave violation in the militia’s notorious record of violations against the relief and humanitarian actions,” Saba News Agency reported.
In a statement, the Minister of Local Administration Abduraqeeb Fatah called on the the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, to report about Houthis’ criminal acts to the international community to pressure the militia into stopping its violations.
The Minister also called on the WFP to report about the Houthi militia’s crimes.