Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Joyce Msuya has warned that interference by Yemen’s Houthi militias with aid operations “remains rifle.”
“In Houthi-controlled areas, Yemeni female aid workers are still unable to travel without male guardians – both within and out of the country. This is causing serious disruptions in the ability of agencies to assist women and girls safely and reliably,” said Msuya.
She urged the Houthis to lift all such restrictions and to work with the international community to identify an acceptable way forward on this issue.
“In addition, Houthi attempts to interfere with aid operations remain rife. These include efforts to force agencies to select certain contractors for third-party monitoring and assessments,” she said.
In a briefing to the UN Security Council this week, Msuya said that two United Nations staff remain detained in Sanaa following their arrest by the militias in November 2021. She called for their immediate release.
She added that “agencies are also concerned about growing vaccine skepticism, particularly in Houthi-held areas, and the role this is playing in rising rates of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and polio.”
“Given current levels of malnutrition, we worry that low rates of vaccine coverage will cause even more children to fall sick or die from measles, polio and other diseases.”
She added that many areas in Yemen continue to suffer from insecurity – threatening aid workers and preventing access in some places, especially in Shabwa and Abyan.
“It’s now been more than a year since five UN staff were kidnapped in Abyan. Again, we ask for their immediate release.”
According to the UN official, last year, aid agencies assisted nearly 11 million people every month. “Doing so is much harder than it should be. It often requires many rounds of discussions, leading to numerous delays.”
“But it was and still is possible. We can absolutely keep going – if we have enough money.”
She said the UN knows that donor funds are tight but she “urgently” advocated immediate disbursement of all pledges.