Aid boost in Yemen after U.S. allows Houthi deals

Aid distribution increased in Sanaa on Tuesday after the United States the day before approved all transactions involving Yemen's Houthi movement for the next month.

The move comes as Washington is reviewing the Trump administration’s designation of the Iran-aligned group as a foreign terrorist organization which has slowed down aid to the war-torn country.

But for those collecting grains and other food items from the World Food Programme distribution center, they say they need more.

Ayman Ahmed is a displaced man from the city of Hodeidah:

"We call on all organizations to distribute monthly like before. Right now, we have not received anything for the past two months, no food or anything else. This isn't enough for us, not for our children."

Nabil Al-Qudsy is a public relations manager at the distribution center:

"Food packages have been reduced by 50 percent and that has deteriorated the situation for people. People are getting poorer day by day and if someone gets a package this month, they don't get one the next month and that has doubled people's suffering in Yemen.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blacklisted the Houthis last Tuesday - a day before President Joe Biden took office - despite warnings from the United Nations and aid groups that it would push Yemen into a large-scale famine.

The Trump administration exempted aid groups, the United Nations, the Red Cross and the export of agricultural commodities, medicine and medical devices from its designation, but U.N. officials said the carve-outs were not enough and called for the decision to be revoked.

On Monday, thousands of Yemenis protested in the Houthi-held capital of Sanaa over the Trump administration's decision.

A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Houthis in a war widely seen as a proxy conflict between U.S. ally Saudi Arabia and Iran.

U.N. officials are trying to revive peace talks to end the war as Yemen's suffering is also worsened by an economic collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Nations describes Yemen as the world's biggest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of its people in need.

Video Transcript

- Aid distribution increased in Sanaa on Tuesday after the United States the day before approved all transactions involving Yemen's Houthi movement for the next month. The move comes as Washington is reviewing the Trump administration's designation of the Iran-aligned group as a foreign terrorist organization which has slow down aid to the war-torn country. But for those collecting grains and other food items from the World Food Program distribution center, they say they need more.

AYMAN AHMED: [SPEAKING ARABIC]

- Ayman Ahmed is a displaced man from the city of Hodeida.

AYMAN AHMED: [SPEAKING ARABIC]

INTERPRETER: We call on all organizations to distribute monthly like before. Right now, we have not received anything for the past two months. No food or anything else. This isn't enough for us, not for our children.

Nabil Al-Qudsy is a public relations manager at the distribution center.

NABIL AL-QUDSY: [SPEAKING ARABIC]

INTERPRETER: Food packages have been reduced by 50% and that has deteriorated the situation for people. People are getting poorer day by day. And if someone gets a package this month they don't get one the next month and that has doubled people suffering in Yemen.

- Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blacklisted the Houthis last Tuesday, a day before President Joe Biden took office, despite warnings from the United Nations and aid groups that it would push Yemen into a large scale famine. The Trump administration exempted aid groups, the United Nations, the Red Cross, and the export of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices from its designation, but UN officials said the carve-outs were not enough and called for the decision to be revoked.

- [SPEAKING ARABIC]

- On Monday, thousands of Yemenis protested in the Houthi-held capital of Sanaa over the Trump administration's decision. A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Houthis in a war widely seen as a proxy conflict between US ally Saudi Arabia and Iran.

UN officials are trying to revive peace talks to end the war as Yemen suffering is also worsened by an economic collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Nations describes Yemen as the world's biggest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of its people in need.