UN Sends Mine-Clearing Equipment to Houthis, Sparking Anger Among Yemenis

Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani (Saba)
Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani (Saba)
TT

UN Sends Mine-Clearing Equipment to Houthis, Sparking Anger Among Yemenis

Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani (Saba)
Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani (Saba)

The UN Development Program (UNDP) in Yemen sparked anger among Yemeni governmental and human rights activists after handing over $750,000 worth of demining equipment and devices to the Houthis in al-Hodeida.

Yemeni Information Minister Moammar al-Eryani expressed his surprise at the UN's behavior, describing it as an "unacceptable transgression of the facts on the ground, and disregard for the lives and pain of thousands of Houthi mine victims."

Eryani accused the Houthi militia of planting mines in cities, villages, residential neighborhoods, citizens' homes, schools, mosques, markets, grazing, and agricultural areas without distinction between military and civilian sites.

The Minister recalled that the Houthis manufactured and planted marine mines in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandab Strait to target commercial ships and oil tankers and threaten international shipping lanes.

He recalled that dozens of incidents of collision of commercial ships and fishing boats with marine mines have been recorded over the past years, and hundreds of fishermen have been killed or injured.

He pointed out that the National Program for Mine Action monitored more than 7,000 civilian casualties among the dead and wounded, mostly women and children, due to the Houthi mine network.

Reports confirmed that these mines were not among the stores and equipment of the Yemeni army before 2014, said the Minister, adding that the Houthis manufactured them under the supervision of experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

Eryani stressed that the Houthi militia had not removed a single mine, and its leaders have appeared in the media visiting mine and explosive device manufacturing factories in Hodeidah and organizing military parades to highlight land and sea mine industries.

- Yemeni government, Saudi efforts

He recalled the efforts of the legitimate government through the National Program for Mine Action and the military engineering teams of the Ministry of Defense and the Saudi project "Masam" to clear Yemeni lands of mines.

Eryani said they made great efforts to remove and destroy Houthi mines, raise awareness of their dangers, and aid the victims through plastic surgery, prosthetics, and rehabilitation services.

The Minister said it was regrettable that the funding provided by brotherly and friendly countries for relief programs in Yemen through the UN is directed to grants and rewards to the Houthi militia for its crimes against Yemenis.

Eryani called on the UN to reconsider its policies, as the Houthi militia is the only one that manufactures and plants mines in Yemen.

"We recall the government's efforts through the successes achieved by the National Mine Action Program and the Saudi project "Masam" to clear Yemeni lands of mines, and direct support through these Programs to eliminate the scourge of mines."

Eryani called on the international community to pressure the Houthi militia to stop manufacturing and planting mines and hand over the maps of the mine networks it planted in the liberated areas and areas of confrontation.

He warned that the mines threaten millions of civilians, paralyzing public life, disrupting people's interests, and exacerbating their suffering.

He also said they represent an obstacle to development efforts and extend its catastrophic effects and risks for decades instead of rewarding them for one of their most heinous crimes.

Meanwhile, human rights activists mocked the UN move, saying the international organization distributes soap, towels, and masks in areas under the legitimate government's control while it gives away cars, equipment, and millions of dollars to clear mines in areas under Houthi control.

The Executive Director of the Yemeni Landmine Monitor, Faris al-Hamiry, asserted that the UN move will have serious consequences.

Hamiry said that Houthis are the main party that planted and continues to plant various mines, including anti-personnel internationally banned mines, noting that handing them over this equipment without any guarantees is like "a reward to the killer."

Yemeni journalist and author Abdullah Ismail ridiculed the incident, saying that receiving UN aid requires planting mines and killing thousands, then establishing an UN-backed program to remove them.

The Houthis have already received support through various UN programs during the past years, including four-wheel drive vehicles that the group converted for military missions.

According to international reports, the militias seized large quantities of food, health, and humanitarian aid.



High Risk of Famine Persists Across Gaza, Global Hunger Monitor Says 

Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
TT

High Risk of Famine Persists Across Gaza, Global Hunger Monitor Says 

Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)

A high risk of famine persists across the whole of the Gaza Strip as long as conflict between Israel and Hamas continues and humanitarian access remains restricted, a global hunger monitor said on Tuesday.

Over 495,000 people, or more than one fifth of Gaza's population, are facing the most severe, catastrophic level of food insecurity, said an update from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

The IPC said increased deliveries of food and nutrition services to northern Gaza in March and April appeared to have reduced the severity of hunger in the area, where the UN-backed body had previously projected that famine was likely.

But Israel's offensive around the southern city of Rafah from early May and other hostilities and displacement have led to a renewed deterioration in recent weeks, it added.

"The humanitarian space in the Gaza Strip continues to shrink and the ability to safely deliver assistance to populations is dwindling. The recent trajectory is negative and highly unstable," the report said.

The Rafah offensive led to the closure of the crossing on Gaza's border with Egypt, which had been a main route for the delivery of food and other supplies, as well as an evacuation point for civilians who were critically ill or injured.

This factor, along with disruptions at the nearby Israeli crossing of Kerem Shalom, reduced humanitarian access to two million people in southern Gaza, the IPC said.

Within Gaza, displacement to areas with less water and fewer health services "increases the risk of disease outbreaks, which would have catastrophic effects on the nutritional and health status of large segments of the population", it said.

Israel's military campaign in Gaza was launched after Hamas-led fighters raided southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The Israeli response has killed almost 37,600 people, according to Palestinian health authorities, leaving Gaza in ruins and repeatedly displacing much of its population within the blockaded coastal territory.