Yemen: International food aid worth millions are getting stolen as people continue to starve
Sana'a, Jane 3: There has been no shortage of food and other aid to the war-ravaged Yemen but yet the dark fact that millions in the country were inching closer to devastating famine didn't change.
There are instances of rampant loot in the country. According to an investigative report by Associated Press, some examples of the thievery include: doling out 5,000 sacks of rice without any record of where they are going; looting of over 700 food baskets from warehouses of a welfare agency; pillaging of 110 sacks of grain from trucks while they travelled through the country's northern highlands overlooking the city of Taiz.
The AP report said review of documents and interviews of officials and aid workers confirmed that thousands of starving families in Taiz were not getting the food that came in form of aid from abroad mostly because they were being taken away by armed personnel who are allied with the Saudi-led military coalition which also has the backing of the US fighting in Yemen against the Houthi rebels.
On Monday, December 31, the World Food Programme (WFP) which provides food to millions of starving in Yemen accused the Houthi rebels of stealing the food from the needy and selling it on the black market. The Houthis have denied the charges.
"Across Yemen, factions and militias on all sides of the conflict have blocked food aid from going to groups suspected of disloyalty, diverted it to front-line combat units or sold it for profit on the black market, according to public records and confidential documents obtained by the AP and interviews with more than 70 aid workers, government officials and average citizens from six different provinces," the AP report added.
The AP report said that the problem of aid getting lost or stolen is common in Taiz and other areas that are controlled by Yemen's internationally acknowledged government, which is also supported by the Saudi led military coalition. It also said the instances are also rampant in territories that are controlled by the Houthi rebels.