United Nations finalizes accord with Yemen rebels to resume food aid

DISPLACED/ A displaced Yemeni woman from the province of Hodeidah cooks in a makeshift camp in the northern district of Abs in Yemen's northwestern Hajjah province.u00c2 File photo by Essa Ahmed/AFP

DISPLACED/ A displaced Yemeni woman from the province of Hodeidah cooks in a makeshift camp in the northern district of Abs in Yemen's northwestern Hajjah province.

u00c2 File photo by Essa Ahmed/AFP

SANAA, Yemen – The United Nations and Yemen's Huthi rebels announced Sunday, August 4, an agreement to resume delivery of food aid suspended for 6 weeks in areas controlled by the group.

The agreement was signed on Saturday, August 3, in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, Huthi-controlled media said. 

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) "signed a high level agreement that is an important step towards safeguards that guarantee the accountability of our humanitarian operation in Yemen," WFP Herve Verhoosel said in an email to Agence France-Presse.

"We are hopeful that technical details can be agreed in the coming days," he added.

The agreement includes a biometric database of civilians in need of aid in order to guarantee "effective and efficient distribution" and to "benefit the most needy," according to the Huthis' Alsyasiah website.

The agreement also stipulates "total transparency" in the registration of beneficiaries and distribution of aid, it added. 

On July 18, WFP head David Beasley announced an agreement in principle was reached with the Huthis to resume food aid to the areas they control. 

The UN had suspended deliveries of food aid to rebel-held areas on June 20 following accusations of "diversion of food" meant for Yemeni civilians. 

Fighting between the Iran-backed Huthis and government forces aided by a Saudi-led coalition has killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, aid agencies say.

The conflict has also forced some 3.3 million people from their homes and 24.1 million, some 80% of the population, is in need of aid, according to the UN. – Rappler.com