Most obstruction of Yemen aid delivery found in Houthi-held areas, UN finds

Nearly 5.5 million Yemenis affected by limited access to humanitarian workers in second quarter of 2022

Attempts at getting humanitarian aid into Yemen to those most in need are regularly thwarted by Houthi rebels, the UN says. AFP
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Most of the blockage of humanitarian aid in Yemen in the past three months has been recorded in Houthi-controlled areas of the country, the United Nations said.

The rebels, who took over the capital Sanaa in 2014 and forced the internationally recognised government to flee, are accused of committing war crimes against the Yemeni people throughout the ensuing civil war.

A report by the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) this week said about 90 per cent of cases where aid workers faced restrictions on access were in Houthi-controlled areas during the second quarter of this year.

A major restriction pertaining to "movement inside and outside Yemen was imposed by the Houthi authority and affected the movement of all Yemeni national aid workers", it said.

Limitations imposed on humanitarian workers and their movement remains a challenge to the UN, the report said.

These include violence against aid workers, travel permits being denied and delays or cancellations of missions and field travel activities.

However, the overall number of such incidents in Yemen has dropped sharply during the period highlighted.

Ocha reported a decrease of 39.2 per cent in the overall number of incidents from April through to the end of June — 187 fewer than in the first quarter of 2022.

It said about 89 per cent of these incidents were recorded in Houthi-controlled areas.

The report said the UN’s humanitarian partners reported 532 access incidents "in 88 districts within 18 governorates across Yemen, affecting 5.5 million people during the second quarter of 2022".

it said: "Operations and activities which require the travel of female national staff have become very challenging for all humanitarian agencies.

"These challenges have been prevalent across Houthi-controlled areas and recently in a few tribal-influenced governorates controlled by the government of Yemen like Marib, Abyan, and Lahj."

Over the years, numerous human rights groups have said the rebels have threatened humanitarian workers and caused the displacement of thousands of Yemeni families by kidnapping, bombing homes and torturing prisoners.

Although a UN-backed truce since April has brought respite to Yemen after seven years of devastating war, the blockage of roads remains a major humanitarian concern, the report said.

Updated: August 12, 2022, 9:15 AM