AL-MUKALLA: The World Food Programme in Yemen has lowered the quantity and weight of humanitarian supplies to thousands of internally displaced Yemenis in the central city of Marib, despite the severe winter and ongoing influx of displaced persons, local authorities and impacted individuals told Arab News on Sunday.
Khaled Al-Shajani, deputy head of the internationally recognized government’s executive unit for camps for the internally displaced in Marib, said that the WFP had reduced the number of food boxes sent each month to more than 70,000 displaced persons in Marib from 75kg to 25kg for each family, and they are now distributed every two months instead of each month.
“Marib’s displaced population receives six food baskets yearly instead of twelve. The humanitarian aid has dropped despite the enormous demands,” Al-Shajani said.
The displaced people have not received their normal food basket for the previous four months, according to the Yemeni official, and the international organization is tying the provision of food with its ongoing survey to validate the names of the needy individuals.
“We told them not to relate the evaluation to the food baskets. People have not gotten their food baskets for two consecutive periods (each period is two months) despite the availability of the baskets in their warehouses, and part of the food has gone bad,” Al-Shajani said.
He stated that in addition to the 70,000 displaced people in Marib who receive humanitarian assistance, 56,000 displaced families have applied for food baskets, and this number is expected to rise due to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, the winter, and the ongoing influx of displaced people.
Due to its relative tranquility and security since the first day of the war, Marib is now sheltering 2,222,530 displaced individuals who have left their home regions and towns due to conflict or persecution by the Iran-backed Houthis, making it the city with the highest concentration of internally displaced people in the country, according to the official IDP camp administration unit.
Affected displaced persons in Marib have urged the WFP and other international aid groups to provide humanitarian supplies on a monthly basis and to increase the number of baskets, predicting widespread starvation if help does not come immediately.
Ali, a father of four who was displaced from Houthi-held Dhamar in 2017, told Arab News by phone from Marib that he has not received his regular food basket from the WFP for the past four months, forcing him to go into debt.
He also asked local grocery owners to sell him food with the promise of paying later in order to feed his family.
“There are no wages or other sources of cash for my family other than this food basket. We often miss meals due to a lack of food,” Ali, who preferred to be identified by his first name, said.
The Yemen office of the WFP did not reply to Arab News’ calls or emails for a comment on the decrease of supplies to displaced people.
International relief groups working in Yemen often attribute their cutbacks in food boxes and other humanitarian operations to a lack of cash from international donors.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said last week that it needs $4.3 billion to support the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen, which is intended to provide humanitarian relief to 17.3 of Yemen’s most destitute people.