Houthi fighters seized 72 World Food Programme (WFP) relief tracks headed to the province of Ibb on Saturday, Minister of Local Administration and chairman of the Higher Committee for Relief in Yemen said.
The WFP the food assistance branch of the United Nations.
The WFP had last week accused the Houthis of stealing food aid dedicated to people affected by the conflict in regions under militia control.
“The Houthis are carrying out systematic work against relief operations in Yemen, starving the Yemeni people and deprive them of the most basic rights,” Abdul Raqeeb Saif Fateh told Yemen’s state news agency, Saba New.
Houthi militia are preventing the arrival of relief for those in need in areas under their control, the minister said.
Fateh called on UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande to intervene and pressure the Houthis to return the seized relief trucks.
“The Yemeni government will bring cases to the international courts against the Houthis who directly starve the Yemeni people and contribute to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in their areas of control,” he said. “The militia are the biggest violators of humanitarian operations in the world.”
The minister said the Yemeni government was working in coordination with donors and international organizations to ensure the delivery of relief aid and humanitarian materials to all governorates.
He requested the WFP implement an electronic fingerprint system in areas controlled by the Houthis to ensure better security for the distribution of aid and to avoid looting by the armed militia.
Fatah urged international relief organizations working in Yemen not to deal with the Houthis and to only deal with local organizations and partners which he said were “reliable, efficient, transparent and fair in their distribution.”