September 6, 2023
From Popular Resistance

Above Photo: UN’s World Food Programme has decided to cut down on aid to Yemen, citing lack of funds. WFP Yemen.

Citing lack of funds, the World Food Programme (WFP) has announced the scaling down of its aid operations in the country starting from September.

The decision will affect millions of people in the blockaded country.

On Monday, September 4, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, criticized the World Food Programme’s (WFP) decision to scale back its aid program in the country. He termed it part of the US attempts to continue the humanitarian crisis there. Earlier, the WFP had stated that due to lack of funds, it will be forced to cut the size of its aid program in Yemen from September.

Al-Houthi met with WFP’s Middle East and North Africa director, Corinne Fleischer, and claimed that the UN has failed to carry out the humanitarian program in Yemen which faces what is considered to be one of the worst humanitarian crises ever.

Due to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s war and blockade of the country since 2015, a majority of Yemen’s population has been suffering food insecurity and lack of medical care. According to the WFP, out of the total population of over 30 million, at least 17 million Yemenis are suffering from acute food insecurity and are dependent on aid provided by different international agencies.

Houthi blamed the US and the Saudi-led coalition, and claimed that they wanted to continue the suffering of Yemenis as a means of warfare to make them submit to their dictates.

Though the fighting between Houthis and Saudi Arabia-backed groups in the country has come to a halt since last year, there has been no progress in an ongoing peace process. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition, backed by the US, has also refused to lift the blockade which prevents the export and import of necessary goods in the country.

Apart from al-Houthi, several other Yemeni officials and civil society groups condemned the WFP’s decision to reduce its aid, calling it a decision taken under international pressure. Yemen’s Al-Masirah TV reported that the government has refused to approve the decision to reduce the aid citing its larger impact on millions of Yemeni people. The report also claimed that WFP’s arguments about lack of funds were not correct.

The WFP, in its statement, said that it had received only 20% of its required $1.17 billion through donations for the six-month period starting from September, and this will force it to cut its program size significantly.

In a news release on August 18, the WFP claimed that due to the lack of enough funds, all its major programs, including General Food Assistance (GFA), Nutrition, School Feeding, and Resilience Activities, would be affected.

The WFP also added that out of the more than 13 million Yemenis dependent on its food aid, at least 4 million, both in the Houthi-administered areas and in areas under the Saudi-backed coalition, will be directly affected.