UN says grain stores in Yemen’s Hodeidah ‘at risk of rotting’

The Red Sea Mills contain more than 46,000,000kgs of grains. Above, military coalition soldiers in Yemen guard one of the Red Sea Mills facilities. (AFP)
Updated 11 February 2019
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UN says grain stores in Yemen’s Hodeidah ‘at risk of rotting’

  • UN envoy to Yemen says food might rot in Hodeidah grain silos
  • The storages contain food sufficient to feed more than 3 million people for a month

DUBAI: The UN special envoy to Yemen on Monday said the urgency of accessing grain stores trapped in a frontline position in the port city of Hodeidah was increasing as the food was “at risk of rotting.”
The World Food Program grain stores at the Red Sea Mills are enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month and have been inaccessible for more than five months, Martin Griffiths said.
Yemen’s almost four-year war has killed tens of thousands of people, collapsed the economy and brought millions of people to the brink of famine.
The UN is pushing for the implementation of a cease-fire and troop withdrawal from Hodeidah, the main entry point for most of Yemen’s imports, agreed in December in Sweden.
Accessing the more than 46,000,000kgs of UN wheat and milling equipment at the frontline flashpoint is a key aim of ongoing peace talks.
Yemen’s conflict pits the Iran-aligned Houthi movement against a Saudi-backed coalition trying to restore the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after it was ousted from power in Sanaa by the Houthis in 2014.
Negotiations between warring parties last week produced what the UN called a “preliminary compromise” on how to withdraw troops, although the deal has not yet been finally agreed.
Griffiths said he was encouraged by the recent engagement of all sides in talks to find a way of accessing the mills.
“We emphasize that ensuring access to the mills is a shared responsibility among the parties to the conflict in Yemen. With safe, unfettered and sustained access, the United Nations can make this urgently needed food available to people in need,” the statement said.
The joint statement between Griffiths and UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said the UN was scaling up its operations to provide food assistance to nearly 12 million people across Yemen struggling to meet their daily food needs.


Sudan government arrests opposition leaders ahead of protest

Updated 21 February 2019
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Sudan government arrests opposition leaders ahead of protest

  • The Sudanese Congress Party says government arrested leaders of Umma and Communist parties, among others
  • The demonstrators want the President Al-Bashir to resign

CAIRO: A Sudanese opposition party says more than 10 opposition leaders have been arrested ahead of the latest day of protests urging President Omar al-Bashir to resign.
In a statement, the Sudanese Congress Party says security forces "pre-empted" demonstrations by arresting the deputy head of the Umma Party, Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi; the party's Secretary-General Sara Naqdallah; Communist Party leader Mokhtar al-Khatib, and others.
Later, police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds who had gathered to march, near the Arab Market area in Khartoum.
Sudan has been rocked by a wave of protests since December calling on al-Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 military coup, to step down. Activists say at least 57 people have been killed, but the government tally stands at 30.