*** ----> WFP suspends Yemen food aid in rebel-held areas | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

WFP suspends Yemen food aid in rebel-held areas

AFP | Dubai                                                           

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

The World Food Programme said Tuesday it was suspending its food distribution in Huthi-controlled areas of Yemen because of funding cuts and disagreements with the rebel group. The poorest country in the Arabian peninsula has faced one of the world's worst humanitarian crises since the outbreak of war between the government and the Huthis, who seized the capital Sanaa and large swathes of territory in 2014.

Sanaa's takeover by the Iranbacked Huthis sparked a Saudi-led military coalition to intervene in 2015 in support of the Yemeni government. Facing a drop in international funding, the WFP said in a statement it had taken this "difficult decision... after nearly a year of negotiations, during which no agreement was reached, to reduce the number of people served (by food distribution) from 9.5 million to 6.5 million".

Food stocks in Huthi-controlled areas "are now almost completely depleted and resuming food assistance, even with an immediate agreement, could take up to as long as four months due to the disruption of the supply chain", the UN agency said.

It said the WFP would nonetheless maintain "its resilience and livelihoods, nutrition, and school feeding programmes... for as long as the agency has sufficient funding and the cooperation of the authorities" in Sanaa. Food distribution in government-controlled areas of Yemen will continue, targeting "the most vulnerable families, aligning with resource adjustments announced last August", the statement said.

Since 2014, the war in the country of 30 million people has led directly or indirectly to hundreds of thousands of deaths and has displaced millions. A fragile calm has prevailed since a UN-negotiated ceasefire in April 2022, but the population suffers from reduced humanitarian aid on which it depends heavily.