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OCHA Accuses Houthis of Obstructing Aid to 5 Million Yemeni

OCHA Accuses Houthis of Obstructing Aid to 5 Million Yemeni

Friday, 12 August, 2022 - 06:00
Yemeni beggar in Sanaa street (Reuters)

Houthi militias obstructed humanitarian aid access to more than five million Yemeni in militia-controlled areas during the second quarter of 2022, according to a recent report.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs issued its infographic about the situation in Yemen, "Access Snapshot - April to June 2022," addressing the problem in Yemen.

It emphasized that humanitarian access in Yemen remains challenging because "access incidents remain driven by bureaucratic impediments, mainly by movement delays."

The report revealed that during the second quarter of 2022, humanitarian partners reported 532 access incidents in 88 districts within 18 governorates across Yemen, affecting 5.5 million people.

Almost 55 percent of the reported incidents pertained to bureaucratic constraints imposed by the authorities, causing restrictions on the movement of humanitarian agencies' staff and commodities within Yemen.

The report asserted that most of these restrictions and obstacles occurred in Houthi-controlled areas, noting that movement restrictions within Yemen were the predominant type of reported access incidents in the second quarter of 2022.

Data shows a decrease of 39.2 percent in the overall number of incidents, or 187 fewer incidents, compared with the first quarter of 2022.

The data indicated that about 89 percent of these incidents were recorded in areas under Houthi control.

Operations and activities which require the travel of female national staff have become very challenging for all humanitarian agencies.

The local authorities demand a Mahram (a close male relative) to accompany female Yemeni aid workers when traveling on field missions, leading to the cancellation of field visits and aid deliveries.

The UN report confirmed that the Houthis imposed "another major restriction pertained to movement inside and outside Yemen, [..] affected the movement of all Yemeni national aid workers."

The report indicated that the Houthis' Supreme Council for the Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (SCMCHA) issued a "circular instructing that all Yemeni aid workers (be they working with the UN, INGOs, or NGOs) obtain a travel permit before participating in any events abroad.

The same requirement was also applied to travel from Sanaa to Aden.

During the reporting period, interference in implementing humanitarian activities by the authorities in Yemen was frequently reported.

A total of 58 interference incidents were reported in the second quarter, compared with 63 incidents in the first.

"Many of these (24 incidents or 42.1 percent) concerned delays, denials, and/or cancellations pertaining to the approval of project sub-agreements."

However, the report stated that humanitarian partners continue to engage the government of Yemen and Houthis to establish accountable and principled procedures for timely approvals of INGO project sub-agreements.

According to the report, violence against humanitarian personnel assets and facilities continues to be a significant issue for humanitarian partners, especially those who work in direct interaction with communities and armed actors.

UN data showed a 40.3 percent increase, with 57 incidents reported compared with 34 incidents in the first quarter of 2022.

The report noted that the severity and impact of these incidents (carjacking, abductions, intimidation) are far more serious and concerning than bureaucratic constraints, leading to temporary suspensions of movement and aid delivery in several governorates.

At the same time, the humanitarian leadership continued to advocate and engage to mitigate these risks.

OCHA stated that humanitarian partners reported 405 incidents pertained to movement restrictions within and into Yemen.

Restriction of movement of organizations' personnel or goods within Yemen remains the predominant access constraint with 290 incidents reported (54.9 percent), followed by limitation of movement of organizations personnel or goods into Yemen with 115 incidents reported (21.6 percent).

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