GENEVA / YEMEN FOOD AID

21-May-2019 00:02:04
UN humanitarians have renewed their call for an end to problems linked to the delivery of desperately-needed aid to millions of people in Yemen, after repeated warnings to Houthi opposition fighters to stop diverting food. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / YEMEN FOOD AID
TRT: 2:04
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 21 MAY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, Room III, Palais des Nations
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Herve Verhoosel, World Food Programme (WFP):
“WFP sincerely hopes that it can reach agreement with the authorities in Houthi areas of Yemen to avoid the suspension, as the needs of 12 million people would depend on our assistance and are of course a priority.”
4. Wide shot, podium.
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Herve Verhoosel, World Food Programme (WFP):
“The food can arrive easily in the country, the food is in the country. What we need now is access, what we need now is operational independence. Access to the most vulnerable, and the start of a biometric registration programme, that is something very important.”
6. Wide shot, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Herve Verhoosel, World Food Programme (WFP):
“What we say now, is that all this needs to stop. We are here to save twelve million people - many of them children and women - to save them from famine. I mean, everybody should work together. And the first interest of everybody today should be the civilian population.”
8. Wide shot, journalists
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Herve Verhoosel, World Food Programme (WFP):
“As of today, 87 WFP contracted trucks, carrying WFP food but also agricultural supplies from FAO, remain in custody across different security and customs checkpoints across Ibb and Al-Bayda governorate.”
10. Close up, journalist
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Martha Hurtado, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Since March 2015, up to 2 May, we have 7,169 killed, and 11, 392 injured.”
12.Various shots, journalists
STORYLINE
UN humanitarians have renewed their call for an end to problems linked to the delivery of desperately-needed aid to millions of people in Yemen, after repeated warnings to Houthi opposition fighters to stop diverting food.

Spokesperson of World Food Programme (WFP) Herve Verhoosel told journalists today (21 May) in Geneva that nine million of the twelve million people the UN agency wants to reach are in Houthi-controlled areas.

Recent progress made in tackling the “systematic diversion of food” had been “reversed” after the issue was uncovered last December, he explained, adding that this had prompted a warning earlier this month to the Houthi leadership – which controls Yemen’s capital Sana’a and many other areas – that a phased suspension of operations might be necessary, unless action was taken to resolve these issues.

Verhoosel said, “WFP sincerely hopes that it can reach agreement with the authorities in Houthi areas of Yemen to avoid the suspension, as the needs of 12 million people would depend on our assistance, and are of course a priority.”

In terms of immediate priorities, WFP wants greater freedom of movement inside the war-torn country and a biometric aid registration programme in Houthi-controlled areas, to match what is already being done in Government-held zones.

Verhoosel insisted, “the food can arrive easily in the country, the food is in the country,” adding that “what we need now is access, what we need now is operational independence. Access to the most vulnerable, and the start of a biometric registration programme; that is something very important.”

In a related development, the WFP official noted that progress is being made in processing millions of tonnes of wheat held at the Red Sea Mills in Hudaydah, the strategically key Red Sea port that’s responsible for importing 70 per cent of Yemen’s food needs.

Verhoosel said that an uptick in fighting meant that WFP lost access to the facility last September, but treatment of the wheat has begun and will continue until early June, in the hope of milling and distributing it.

Verhoosel also said that more than 80 aid trucks remain blocked at checkpoints in Yemen, around half of the 160 detained in April.

He said, “as of today, 87 WFP contracted trucks, carrying WFP food but also agricultural supplies from FAO, remain in custody across different security and customs checkpoints across Ibb and Al-Bayda governorate.”

In an appeal to prevent the phased withdrawal of food aid, Verhoosel insisted that “all this needs to stop. We are here to save twelve million people - many of them children and women - to save them from famine. I mean, everybody should work together. And the first interest of everybody today should be the civilian population.”

Since fighting escalated in Yemen in March 2015 between supporters of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Houthi opposition forces, thousands of civilians have been killed and injured.

Spokesperson of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Martha Hurtado confirmed, “since March 2015, up to 2 May, we have 7,169 killed, and 11, 392 injured.”
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