SANA’A – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its partner Islamic Relief in Yemen have resumed food distributions this week to the war-affected people of the northern governorate of Sa’ada.
Distribution was suspended in March due to the deteriorating security situation in Sa’ada city. WFP and Islamic Relief are now able to work again in Sa’ada city and Al Malaheet, as well as – for the first time -- in the northern districts of Qatabir and Baqim, providing food mainly for internally displaced persons and returnees.
“This is a real breakthrough for humanitarian operations in Sa’ada governorate,” said Gian Carlo Cirri, WFP Representative and Country Director in Yemen. “Most of the new caseload that we are reaching out to now have been cut off from aid since the very beginning of the conflict in 2004. Our plan is to further increase our support to other districts and to reach, in the short term, a total number of 416,000 beneficiaries. We hope that it will stabilize a dire humanitarian situation,” he said.
WFP launched an emergency operation in northern Yemen in 2007 that has provided food assistance to more than 300,000 internally displaced persons including 60,000 children under the age of 5 across Sa’ada, Hajjah, Sana’a, Amran and Al Jawf governorates. With the addition of people in the districts the UN food agency has so far been unable to reach, numbers will increase by around 116,000.
WFP has been negotiating with community leaders to secure expanded access to the governorate’s population, beyond the two traditional distribution centres in Sa’ada City and Malaheet.
“Negotiations with grassroots community leaders, communities and de-facto authorities have been successful, and food distribution to an initial group of 14,000 beneficiaries is running smoothly,” said Imed Khanfir, WFP Emergency Officer.
The WFP operation in the northern governorate faces a shortfall of USD 28 million up to the end of the year.
WFP’s operations to assist refugees at Kharaz, west of Aden, have been unaffected by the recent unrest in the south of the country.
For further information:
Carl Conradi, WFP/Sana’a, Tel. +967 (1) 214 100/1 ext. 2110