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WFP about to halt food aid to Houthi-controlled areas over biometric distribution refusal

WFP about to halt food aid to Houthi-controlled areas over biometric distribution refusal

Food aid distribution in Yemen by the World Food Programme(WFP) is likely to end this week, Executive Director David Beasley warned, urging Houthi leadership to allow the organization to do its job by accepting a biometric distribution system, Reuters reports.

He said WFP is providing aid for 10 million people, but cannot ensure they are those most in need.

“If we do not receive these assurances then we will begin a phased suspension of food assistance, most likely toward the end of this week. If and when we do initiate suspension we will continue our nutrition program for malnourished children, pregnant women and new mothers,” he told the U.N. Security Council.

WFP has sought to use fingerprints, facial, or iris recognition to prevent fraud and redirection of food aid, after observing significant problems in delivery, though Houthi leaders say their objections are based on data control concerns.

“Why? Because we are not allowed to operate independently and because aid is being diverted for profit and or other purposes,” he said, according to Reuters.

Beasley says WFP has also had problems in official government-controlled areas, but the government has been more willing to negotiate to address problems. The Security Council condemned the misdirection of aid in Houthi-held areas, and reiterated a call for the safe and unimpeded flow of aid, commerce, and people.

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