WFP blasts Houthis for hampering rollout of aid program

Time: June 04, 2019  

Supporters of the Houthi movement take part in a protest in Sanaa, Yemen. (Reuters)
  • Houthis were hampering the rollout of a WFP biometric system to identify those in most need

DUBAI: A dispute over control of biometric data between the World Food Programme (WFP) and Yemen’s Houthi militia is straining humanitarian efforts and threatens to disrupt aid distribution.

In an unusually strong statement the UN agency, which feeds more than 10 million people a month across the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest nation, said last month it is considering suspending deliveries due to fighting, insecurity and interference in its work.

The WFP has said the Iran-aligned Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa, were hampering the rollout of a WFP biometric system to identify those in most need.

The biometric system — using iris scanning, fingerprints or facial recognition — is already used in areas controlled by Yemen’s internationally recognized government.

Sources familiar with the discussions said Houthi leaders asked the agency to stop the registration process in early April after realizing the new system bypasses Sanaa’s supervision.

Since discovering in December 2018 that donated food in Houthi areas was being systematically diverted through a local partner connected to Houthi authorities, the WFP has pressed the Houthis harder to implement a biometric registration system used globally to combat corruption in aid distribution.

“The continued blocking by some within the Houthi leadership of the biometric registration … is undermining an essential process that would allow us to independently verify that food is reaching … people on the brink of famine,” WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi project clears 408 mines in one week

Time: June 03, 2019  

The vast number of mines continues to pose a threat to Yemeni people. (AP/File photo)
  • 72,276 Houthi devices disarmed amid fears for Yemenis

RIYADH: The Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (MASAM) in Yemen extracted 19 anti-personnel mines, 112 anti-tank mines, four explosive devices and 273 unexploded ordnance — a total of 408 devices — during the final week of May.
A total of 72,276 mines have been extracted since the beginning of the project. An estimated 1.1 million mines have been planted by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen over the past three years, claiming hundreds of civilian lives.
The project aims to dismantle mines in Yemen to protect civilians and ensure that humanitarian supplies are delivered safely. The Houthis are developing anti-vehicle mines and turning them into antipersonnel explosives to terrorize civilians. The vast number of mines continues to pose a threat to the Yemeni people.
Ramadan aid programs
The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has distributed 370 food baskets in several directorates of Yemen’s Socotra Island, helping 98 families. The center also distributed food baskets and iftar meals in several Yemeni governorates. More than 2,880 iftar meals were distributed to hospital patients, needy and displaced people in Hadhramaut and Dhale governorates.
KSRelief also distributed 855 cartons of dates to displaced and poor families in Abyan governorate.
Meanwhile, the center also distributed 3,000 food baskets to needy and displaced people in Balkh province, Afghanistan. In Lebanon, the distribution helped more than 250 people from poor and needy families as part of the Ramadan Village Program in Tripoli.

FASTFACT

According to a UN report, the number of Yemenis in need of help has risen from 14.7 million in 2013 to 24.1 million in 2019, a problem that will cost about $4.2 billion to address.

The Kingdom has not only supported Yemen financially, but also hosted more than 2 million Yemenis working in different professions and contributing more than $4 billion annually to Yemen.
Recently, KSRelief Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said that Yemen is the primary beneficiary of Saudi humanitarian programs, without discrimination between government or Iran-backed Houthi-controlled territories, Al-Rabeeah said.
A total of 345 projects worth $12 billion were launched in the country in the past four years, he added. These focused on humanitarian programs and economic development aid, including support for the Yemen Central Bank.

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Saudi air defenses intercept explosive Houthi drone in the vicinity of Jazan airport

Time: May 26, 2019  

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The Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted a Houthi drone packed with explosives heading for Jazan airport on Sunday. (SPA)
  • Arab Coalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said that the drone targeted King Abdullah Airport in Jazan
  • Saudi air defenses intercepted it at 7.14 a.m. local time on Sunday

RIYADH: The Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted a Houthi drone packed with explosives heading for Jazan airport on Sunday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Arab Coalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said that the drone targeted King Abdullah Airport in Jazan and that Saudi air defenses intercepted it at 7.14 a.m. local time on Sunday.

The air defenses destroyed another drone packed with explosives launched by the Houthis towards Najran airport on Thursday.

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