| 30 March 2023, Thursday |

UN: Most relief restrictions are concentrated in Houthi areas

A recent report by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) showed that most of the restrictions that hinder aid organizations in Yemen are concentrated in areas controlled by the Houthi militia.


The Program confirmed that its ability to monitor and evaluate relief aid was reduced by up to 81 percent because it could not start data collection.


By the end of January, WFP had still been unable to start data collection for the annual Food Security and Livelihoods Assessment (FSLA) in Houthi areas, as an agreement with authorities was still pending.


According to OCHA, most restrictions on the movement of people and goods occur in areas under Houthi control, resulting from restrictions on national staff travel and specific restrictions on the movement of female national staff without the accompaniment of a close male relative.


It noted that 87 percent of WFP Yemen staff are Yemeni nationals.


According to the report, WFP monitoring and evaluation activities were significantly curtailed in January following the suspension of the activities of a critical third-party service provider in Houthi areas, in reference to the militias shutting down the company that was providing data to the Program.


The WFP has other contracted third-party monitoring companies in Yemen. The suspension led to a 67 percent decline in field monitoring visits compared to December and an 81 percent decline in outgoing calls from WFP’s Beneficiary Verification Mechanism (BVM).


The Program provided cash assistance to 32,000 women under its Cash Assistance for Nutrition activity. However, this only includes areas under the legitimate government, as WFP had to suspend the movement in the Houthi regions in January pending new approvals by authorities.


According to the report, WFP is facing funding shortfalls for multiple activities.


Most WFP activities are implemented at reduced levels, affecting millions of people, noting that delays in approving project sub-agreements, staff visas, and travel requests continue to affect WFP activities.


According to the latest WFP food security data, the nationwide prevalence of inadequate food consumption increased slightly in December after gradually decreasing for three consecutive months.


The data stated that nearly “half of Yemeni households (49 percent nationwide) reported inadequate food consumption during the month, with rates at critically high levels in 17 of 22 governorates.”


In areas under Houthi control, the food cost is now almost the same as at the same time last year. Still, it has increased by 14 percent in areas under the internationally recognized Government of Yemen.


In mid-January, Houthi intelligence agents stormed the “Prodigy Systems” offices in Sanaa that manages data collection on eligible citizens for humanitarian aid in cooperation with international organizations.


They arrested dozens of employees and detained them for investigation until the end of the day. The company was closed for an indefinite period.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat