UN renews plea to access Yemen food aid to needy

SANAA: The United Nations on Monday urged Yemeni rival parties to let it access food aid stored for more than five months, which is set for distribution in the war-torn country.
The UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, and the UN’s humanitarian aid coordinator, Mark Lowcock, called for “safe, unfettered and sustained access” to the mills in the western city of Hodeida.
“The World Food Programme (WFP) grain stored in the mills — enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month — has been inaccessible for over five months and is at risk of rotting,” according to a joint statement by Griffiths and Lowcock.
“The urgency of United Nations access to the Red Sea Mills in Hodeida is growing by the day,” they said. “We emphasise that ensuring access to the mills is a shared responsibility among the parties to the conflict in Yemen.”
The conflict has led to displacement, food insecurity, and outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria across the country as well as damage to the healthcare and education infrastructure.
Earlier on Monday, the head of a UN team overseeing a ceasefire in Hodeida, Michael Lollesgaard, arrived in the capital Sanaa for talks with Ansarullah officials.
The former Danish general and Griffiths are scheduled to hold talks with senior Ansarullah officials to discuss the redeployment agreement in Hodeida, a rebel source in Sanaa said.
After the meetings, Griffiths is expected to head to the Saudi capital Riyadh to meet with Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, the source added.
The truce agreement for Hodeida included a
province-wide ceasefire and the withdrawal of fighters. It went into effect on December 18, following UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden. — dpa