SANAA: Yemen’s Houthi militants on Tuesday destroyed tonnes of food aid that they said had expired after being held up for months in the country which is teetering on the edge of famine.
The Houthis, who control Yemen's capital Sanaa, used diggers to break up sacks of maggot-ridden rice and flour bearing the logo of the UN's World Food Programme (WFP).
"This consignment of foodstuff was going off and was full of small insects... it wasn't even good for animals," said Houthi official Majed Sari.
A UN source said the aid had been intended for delivery to families in the city of Taiz in November 2018.
But it "ended up detained at a checkpoint for months and months", the source told AFP.
Yemen was already the Arab world's poorest nation when the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and launched an assault to take over the rest of the country.
The conflict with the internationally recognized government, which is supported by an Arab military coalition, has since triggered widespread malnutrition.
But the WFP, which says it feeds around 11 million people a month in Yemen, halted distributions to Houthi-controlled territory in June following accusations of "diversion of food" meant for Yemeni civilians for their own benefit.
In early August, it reached a deal to resume deliveries after the Houthis offered guarantees concerning the beneficiaries, the UN agency said.
A WFP spokesperson told AFP that the agency distributes more than 130,000 metric tonnes of food each month in Yemen despite "operational challenges" linked to the complex conflict.
"WFP needs unimpeded access to all areas of the country so we can get food assistance to those who need it most," the spokesperson said.