UN resumes grain milling in starvation-threatened Yemen

Piles of grains lie at a damaged warehouse of Yemen's Red Sea mills company in the port city of Hodeidah. (File/AFP)
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Updated 06 January 2020

UN resumes grain milling in starvation-threatened Yemen

  • Milling resumed on Dec. 30
  • The mill and silos have become a focal point of the conflict in Hodeidah

DUBAI: The UN World Food Programme has resumed the milling of grain for food aid to a starving population in Yemen after a halt in late December due to shelling damage, the agency said on Monday.
Artillery fire on Dec. 26 damaged WFP grain stores at the Red Sea Mills located on the front line in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah.
Milling resumed on Dec. 30, the WFP said in a statement.
The mill and silos have become a focal point of the conflict in Hodeidah, where the United Nations is trying to enforce a cease-fire and troop withdrawal agreed a year ago at peace talks in Stockholm.
The Red Sea Mills lie on a front line between forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognized government and those of the Iran-aligned Houthi militia.
The stores were off limits for around six months from late 2018 and at risk of rotting until the WFP negotiated access in February and began cleaning and milling what had been enough grain to feed 3.7 million people for a month.
So far just over 4,500 tons have been milled into flour and dispatched, the statement said.
The war has severely hit food supplies in Yemen and millions of people are at risk of starvation in what aid agencies describe as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Yemen has been mired in almost five years of conflict since the Houthi militia ousted Hadi’s government from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014, prompting intervention in 2015 by an Arab coalition in a bid to restore his government.
The United Nations has been trying to re-launch political negotiations to end a war which has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed millions to the brink of famine.
A year on from the Stockholm deal, UN-mediated talks between warring parties in the Hodeidah have so far failed to achieve a full troop withdrawal and cease-fire.


Iranian wedding party fueled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

Updated 49 min 30 sec ago

Iranian wedding party fueled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

  • New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths
  • Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing

DUBAI: A wedding party contributed to a new surge in coronavirus infections in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday but insisted the country had no option but to keep its economy open despite warnings of a second wave of the epidemic.
Iran, which has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, has reported a sharp rise of new daily infections in recent days. Thursday’s toll of 3,574 new cases was the highest since February, when the outbreak was first reported.
“At one location, we witnessed a peak in this epidemic, the source of which was a wedding that caused problems for the people, health workers and losses to the economy and the country’s health system,” Rouhani said on state TV. He did not say when or where the wedding took place.
New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths.
Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing. One official said about 70% of the new cases in Tehran were among those who had traveled outside the capital in recent days.
Iran has been struggling to curb the spread of COVID-19 but authorities are concerned that measures to limit public and economic life to contain the virus could wreck an already economy already reeling under international sanctions.
“In these circumstances, we have no other choice — that is, there is no second option,” Rouhani added. “We have to work, our factories have to be active, our shops have to be open, and there has to be movement in the country as far as it is necessary.”
Iranian universities reopened on Saturday after being closed for more than three and a half months, state media reported. Nurseries will reopen in a week’s time, when Qur'an and languages classes will also resume, Rouhani said.