Food Theft by Houthi Rebels Raise Questions Over International Relief Effort

January 3, 2019

The aid food theft in Yemen has raised questions to the efforts of the humanitarian organizations. One senior aid official anonymously raised the question about the validation of UN’s Integrated Phase classification system (IPC). He told that he personally does not believe the readings of the IPC as it can be manipulated by the political leaders and organizations. He suspects something like that is going on in war-ravaged Yemen also. These falsified readings have helped the Houthi ruled regions to get more rations than the other regions of the starving country.

The suspicion might have some mettle as it is revealed that the aid workers have known about the ration theft by Houthis. The reports said that the officials were aware of arms slinging Houthi rebels who were controlling and diverting the rations to the militant ruled regions of the country. It has been also revealed that the UN’s data of malnutrition surveys have been manipulated.

The Houthi officials denied the allegations about food theft or falsifying any data.

The allegations, however, give new meaning to the stark difference between UN’s report about the famine of Yemen and the reports of other humanitarian organizations. The other international aid groups have been raising concern about UN’s data and stating that the famine situation is much worse than what has been depicted.

The scandal broke in the middle of a fragile ceasefire between the Houthi rebels and the coalition army. The ongoing conflict is the reason that about 16 million people are facing severe food scarcity. The World Food Program is providing foods to 8 million people every month.

In wake of this scandal, the officials of United Nations have agreed that in some of the areas people are being denied rations completely. The theft food instead is being sold in the open market. The WFP executive director David Beasley said while the children are dying for lack of food, this type of criminal behavior is completely unacceptable.

A spokesperson of WFP has said till now seven food distribution centers have been identified which were involved in misappropriation of the food stock. The investigators have found that more than 60% of people did not get the amount of food that they deserve due to the misappropriation. All the guilty centers are located in Sana’a and administered by Houthi affiliated local organizations.

The total amount of food that has been diversified is still unknown.

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