By: Ibrahim Shukralla DUBAI, 3rd May, 2019 (WAM) – The World Food Programme believes that only two-third of the 51,000 metric tons of grain at the Red Sea Mills in Hodeida is still “salvageable,” while one-third is already “unsafe for human consumption,” the UAE’s Minister of State for International Cooperation, has revealed.
The Houthi militia have been preventing the WFP to access the mills, which can feed up to four million people for one month, since September 2018, however, there will be another attempt by the United Nations’ agency to access the mills, Reem Al Hashemy has said.
The last attempt was in April, 2019, when 120 workers for WFP were denied access to the US$33 million mills to begin the process of distributing it, days after the UN gained access to test the grains.
“I asked the WFP, ‘To what extent do you think this grain is still consumable? How much is available? Do we need to start writing off this amount?’ They told us not to write it off as there is going to be another attempt to access the mills,” Al Hashemy told a group of journalists.
“They suspect that one-third (about 33 percent) of the grain is already unsafe for human consumption, but they still believe that two-third (about 67 percent) of it is still salvageable.
“We are really concerned because as the weather gets hotter in the next few months, the window of opportunity becomes less, but hopefully the team can have access soon,” she added.
Al Hashemy, who is also the Director-General of Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, said that she understood that the UN are “close to some form” of agreement in regards to troop withdrawal from Hodeida.
“What we understand from the UN is that they are close to some form of agreement, so we are really relying on the promise of what that withdrawal would look like so it could unlock things,” she explained.
“I also think that with our continued conversations with the Yemeni side and members of the UN community, we are trying to get closer.
“Has anything happened yet, though, since the Stockholm agreement? No, but we have to continue believing that we will slowly get there,” Al Hashemy added.
The UAE announced a US$500-million aid for Yemen for this year, plus an extra US$100 million for the month of Ramadan.
The approach for allocating the aid will be discussed in a meeting with Saudi Arabia, who announced a similar aid package, and the UN, in Riyadh, in the third week of May.