Houthis are responsible for about 94 percent of the restrictions recorded on the movement of humanitarian workers and commodities within Yemen, revealed the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
It noted that the third quarter of 2022 witnessed a significant increase in incidents that impacted the safety and security of aid workers compared with the second quarter.
“Over the same period, humanitarian partners reported 673 access incidents in 103 districts in 19 governorates across Yemen, affecting 5.8 million people,” the UN office said, adding that almost three-quarters (73.6 per cent) of the reported incidents pertained to bureaucratic constraints imposed by the authorities, including restrictions on the movement of humanitarian workers and commodities within Yemen.
OCHA said these restrictions include interference in humanitarian operations, travel permit denials or delays, and cancellations of missions and field travel activities.
“Movement restrictions within Yemen were the predominant type of reported access incidents in the third quarter of 2022, with 307 incidents, about 94 percent of these incidents were recorded in Houthi-controlled area, while 6 percent were in the government-controlled areas,” it noted.
The UN Office explained that the increase is attributed to Houthi imposed restrictions on national staff travel inside and outside the country and delay or denial of movement requests.
OCHA stressed that the Houthis continued to require mahram (a close male relative) to accompany female Yemeni aid workers when traveling on field missions within and between governorates, as well as outside Yemen through Sanaa International Airport, which affected many program activities and led to the cancellation of field visits and aid deliveries.
During the reporting period, interference in implementing humanitarian activities by the authorities in Yemen was frequently reported.
“Some 66 interference incidents were reported in the third quarter, compared with 58 in the second,” the Office said, adding that many of these (31 incidents or 47.7 percent) concerned delays of the approval of project sub-agreements.
Other types of Houthi interference include suspension and disruption of humanitarian activities, interference in project design and implementation, and arbitrary demands for various information, data, documentation, reports, and tools were reported by partners, with 29 incidents (44 percent) in total.
OCHA said violence against humanitarian personnel assets and facilities continues to be a major concern for humanitarian partners in Yemen as the third quarter witnessed a decrease of 42.1 percent in the frequency of such incidents, with 33 reported compared with 57 incidents in the second quarter of 2022.
“The decrease is mainly attributed to OCHA’s engagement with authorities and armed groups and the temporary suspensions of movements and aid deliveries in several governorates, especially those passing by the coastal line using the Al Madaribah-Wa Al Arah road in Lahij Governorate,” the Office reported.