Food for millions at risk of rotting in Yemen, warns UN

Cereal stored in Dhubab, Taiz Gobernorate, in Yemen. The World Food Programme (WFP) grain stored in Hudaydah's Red Sea Mills has been inaccessible for over five months and is at risk of rotting. Picture: Giles Clarke/OCHA.

United Nations (UN) Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and UN Emergency Relief Chief Mark Lowcock issued a joint statement warning about the risk of food aid being spoiled because it is too difficult to access.

51,000 metric tonnes of grain belonging to the World Food Programme- enough to feed 3.7m people- is being stored in the Red Sea Mills in Hodeida, Hudaydah and has been inaccessible for over five months.

In January 2019, two silos in the government controlled area were hit by mortar fire, destroying enough grain to feed hundreds of thousands.

Citing security concerns, forces affiliated with the Houthi rebels, formally-known as Ansar Allah, have, to date, not allowed the UN to cross front lines to access the mills.

In the statement, Mr Lowcock and Mr Griffiths said they acknowledged the confirmation from Ansar Allah of their committment to implement the Hodeida Agreement, which is a ceasefire of Yemen's warring parties.

"We emphasize that ensuring access to the mills is a shared responsibility among the parties to the conflict in Yemen.

"With safe, unfettered and sustained access, the United Nations can make this urgently needed food available to people in need. 11 February 2019."

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