Humanitarian groups continue distribution of food aid in Yemen amid Houthi accusations

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-21 04:19:34|Editor: yan
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ADEN, Yemen, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Humanitarian organizations operating in Yemen continued on Thursday distribution of food assistance amid fears of suspending the World Food Program (WFP) operations in the war-torn country.

In the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, a number of local organizations including the Emirati Red Crescent (ERC) continued to distribute food supplies to displaced Yemenis and those affected by the ongoing fighting.

Ali Hamed, a humanitarian activist, said the ERC teams serve hundreds of citizens and displaced people living in Khokhah district in southern Hodeidah and provide them with relief aid.

"Many displaced families received food baskets delivered by the ERC but there are hundreds of families that are still in a pressing need for more urgent food assistance," he said.

Hamed urged the humanitarian organizations to increase the distribution of food assistance to rescue hundreds of displaced families in hunger in Hodeidah.

A war of words has continued to escalate between the Yemeni Houthi rebels and the WFP amid disagreements over the distribution of aid to millions of hungry people in Yemen.

On Monday, David Beasley, head of the WFP in Yemen, lashed out at the Houthi rebels in Yemen's northern provinces for misappropriating aid supplies.

The Iranian-backed Houthis then accused the WFP of "providing Yemenis with rotten and expired food assistance."

The WFP strongly denied on Wednesday the Houthi claims, saying it has a strong mechanism for controlling the food quality and would not deliver aid that fails to meet the highest standards of food safety.

Beasley warned that the WFP will have to begin a phased suspension of food assistance, most likely toward the end of the week unless it receives necessary assurances from the Houthis.

Local humanitarian activists said the ongoing tension between the Yemeni warring factions and the WFP may affect millions of people waiting for urgent assistance.

Yemen has been locked in a civil war since the Houthi rebels overran much of the country militarily and seized all northern provinces, including the capital Sanaa, in 2014.

Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab military coalition that intervened in Yemen's conflict in 2015 to support the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after Houthi rebels forced him into exile.

The prolonged military conflict has aggravated the suffering of Yemenis and deepened the world's worst humanitarian crisis.