Senior UN Relief Coordinator: Houthis Are Blocking Accesses to Wheat Silos
UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock revealed that Houthi militias in Yemen have been refusing access to United Nations missions to Red Sea silos in Hodeidah, where a badly needed supply of humanitarian aid wheat is stored.
“I am deeply concerned that the United Nations has been unable to access the Red Sea Mills in Hodeidah since September 2018,” said Lowcock in a statement. “Access to the mills grows ever more urgent as time passes and the risk of spoilage to the remaining grain increases.”
Enough grain to feed 3.7 million people for a month has sat unused and possibly spoiling in silos at the mills for more than four months, while nearly 10 million people across the country remain just a step away from famine, noted Lowcock, who is also the world body’s emergency relief coordinator.
“No one gains anything from this. But millions of starving people suffer.”
To date, Houthi forces have declined to authorize the United Nations to cross front lines into government-controlled areas to access the mills, citing security concerns, said Lowcock.
He asked all parties, in particular, the Houthis, to finalize an agreement and facilitate access to the silos “in the coming days.”
The United Nations and its humanitarian partners are scaling up to reach 12 million people with emergency food assistance, which is a 50 percent increase over 2018 targets. In December, the World Food Program reached more than 10 million people, a record achievement, said Lowcock.