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Yemen Urges UN Agencies to Review their Performance in Houthi-Run Areas

Yemen Urges UN Agencies to Review their Performance in Houthi-Run Areas

Friday, 21 February, 2020 - 07:45
Displaced Yemenis from Hodeidah receive food aid in the district of Aslam in the northwestern Hajjah province on October 20, 2018. AFP file photo
Aden - Ali Rabih

The Yemeni government renewed its call on UN humanitarian agencies to review their operations in Houthi-run areas, after western reports accused the militias of blocking half of the United Nations’ aid delivery programs in the war-torn country and of cutting billions of dollars in foreign assistance.

The calls came amid warnings by agencies and international donors to reduce aid if Houthi militias continue to impose restrictions on UN operations in Yemen.

Commenting on the issue, Yemeni Information Minister Muammar al-Eryani said Thursday the Houthis are taking millions of Yemenis - in militia-run areas - as hostages as a means of extortion.

His remarks came in response to reports published by The Associated Press that the militias had blocked half of the UN aid delivery programs in the country as a strong-arm tactic to force the agency to give them greater control over the massive humanitarian campaign, along with a cut of billions of dollars in foreign assistance.

He said AP's report was shocking.

"The Houthis demanded a 2 percent from the entire aid budget be given to them,” the minister noted.

Al-Eryani said the report corroborates the warnings of the Yemeni government that the militias are exploiting the humanitarian situation to earn money and finance their war.

On Wednesday, AP said the UN requested all agencies report how much they were giving in direct cash transfers to Houthis.

A spreadsheet obtained by the AP said that in 2019, the total cash transfers reached $370 million, around 10 percent of the entire international aid budget for Yemen.

It said around $133 million was marked in the spreadsheet as “not audited.”

On Thursday, Yemeni Minister of Local Administration Abdul Raqeeb Fatah called on the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen to take the necessary measures to prevent a repeat of aid looting.

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