Robberies mounted by Houthi militia officers in Yemen are increasingly targeting medical assistance and food aid sent to unpaid civil servants in the war-torn country’s public health and education sectors, said sources in the coup-held capital, Sanaa.
For years now, thousands of Yemeni state workers have not received their salaries. They have been relying on humanitarian relief provided by local and international organizations to survive the fallout of a years-long war and a wrenching economic crisis.
“Over the last three weeks, Houthi militias have used beneficiary statements that list the names of school teachers who qualified for aid to seize their share of charity given out by merchants and businessmen,” a Sanaa-based source, who requested anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Claiming they will reassess the eligibility of aid recipients, Houthis withheld the distribution of food baskets despite worsening living conditions in the militia-run territory.
“Houthis have not released any of the aid they are keeping, despite having completed their background checks for beneficiaries,” confirmed the source, adding that the Iran-backed group is actively blocking, snatching, and redirecting humanitarian relief into its war effort.
Public school teachers and workers in Houthi-controlled have not received their salaries since 2016 and constantly face worsening living conditions.
“The group’s (Houthis) appetite for theft has expanded from only targeting our salaries to appropriating aid sent by do-gooders to help keep our families and us alive,” a public education sector employee told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Moreover, Houthis have taken over large quantities of coronavirus vaccine shorts that the health ministry in the internationally recognized Yemeni government had secured for medics and nurses fighting the spread of the pandemic under militia rule.
“The Houthis’ so-called Higher Council for Humanitarian Affairs has blocked a vaccine shipment destined for health workers in Sanaa,” a local source familiar with the dilemma told Asharq Al-Awsat.