A day after the United Nations renewed its accusation of militias for obstructing relief work the Houthis claims that International aid organisations

Houthis: INGO's manipulate donor funding

The Houthis have accused international humanitarian aid and relief organizations in Yemen of manipulating donor funds, a day after UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ursula Mueller, accuses the group of restricting the relief operation in its areas of control and trying to control local beneficiaries and partners.

Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Supreme Political Council in Sana’a, tweeted that international organizations are manipulating donor funds and not willing to allocate them to Yemeni citizens.

In a series of recent tweets, Al-Houthi pointed out key examples. "As an example, a children's feed biscuit project has been set for $12 million," 

The Children's Nutrition Project is funded by the World Food Programme (WFP) which resumed the project  in September 2017 through its partner in the Houthi government, this being the school nutrition and humanitarian relief project of the Ministry of Education.

Al-Houthi spoke of his group's objection to certain projects such as public health awareness ones, citing the example of a recent project worth $600,000 which sent SMS texts to several beneficiaries in an unnamed governorate saying “wash your hands after eating” and  “wash your children when switching diapers.”  

The Houthi leader called on the United Nations to set up a committee to investigate, claiming that his group has "evidence" that "the list is full of money-draining projects." 

Al-Houthi's tweets came hours after the United Nations accused the group of blocking aid to those in need and imposing additional restrictions on humanitarian and relief workers.

"Humanitarian access remains a formidable challenge in Yemen, particularly in areas controlled by Ansar Allah," said UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller.

During a special briefing to the UN Security Council, on Friday, Mueller said the Houthis continue to impose a number of restrictions on humanitarian work in the areas it controls and that Houthi authorities continue to "block or delay half of all NGO projects in areas under their control."

The UN official noted that the Houthis have banned many needs assessments and chronic monitoring, and that they have forced several INGOs to leave Yemen, often without reason.

Mueller accused the Houthis of seeking to interfere in  humanitarian operations by trying to influence the selection of aid recipients and of implementing partners.

This is not the first time that the Houthis and the United Nations have exchanged accusations about humanitarian aid and manipulation. The WFP suspended its work in Sana’a in June to protest Houthi practices including , stealing food aid shipments. The WFP resumed operations in August with a new agreement to expand access in areas under Houthi control. 

The UN says it is carrying out the world's largest relief and humanitarian operation in Yemen, and continues to urge donors to fulfil their financial commitments, warning all parties of the famine and deaths that could be caused by the shutdown of UN-backed projects.

But donor organisations and Yemeni authorities are beginning to question the credibility of the UN in Yemen, especially after international reports of major corruption in UN agencies operating in Yemen have surfaced in recent months. Accusations brought against the UN in Yemen include ones that UN projects have been set up to benefit Houthi leadership directly. 

A recent Associated Press investigation revealed details of corruption at the World Health Organization and UNICEF in Yemen. The investigation uncovered indications that these UN organisations have recruited known Houthi officials, given ghost positions to Houthi associates, allowed Houthi officials to use UN vehicles to bypass checkpoints.

According to this same Associated Press investigation, documents and computers belonging to UN internal investigators were confiscated at Sana’a airport by Houthi officials. 


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