FACTSHEET: Houthi’s Steal Aid from Starving Yemeni Children



Recent reports show that the Iran-backed Houthis are blocking aid and deepening the humanitarian crisis. As Dave Harden stated in testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on February 6, “The Houthis could end the humanitarian crisis tomorrow. They are the only actor that actually has that capability.”


  1. Houthi’s Steal Food Aid to Buy Political Support

According to an undercover investigation by CNN, humanitarian aid is “being diverted to fighting units or sold on the open market, but most was being used to buy political support for the Houthi cause.”[1]  U.S. diplomats recognize the problem: “At this point, only the Houthis are blocking access,” said acting US ambassador Jonathan Cohen to the U.N.in April. “And they alone will be to blame if the food spoils.”


  1. N. May Be Forced to Stop Aid Due To Houthi Acts  

The U.N. World Food Program released a statement on May 20 that it “reluctantly reached the conclusion that unless progress is made on previous agreements, we will have to implement a phased suspension of aid.”[2] “This conduct amounts to the stealing of food from the mouths of hungry people,” WFP executive director David Beasley said. “At a time when children are dying in Yemen because they haven’t enough food to eat, that is an outrage.”


  1. Houthi’s Attacked Grain Silos That Feed 3.7 Million

On May 9, Houthi soldiers attacked grain silos outside of the Port of Hodeida, which the United Nations says are critical to feeding millions of Yemeni civilians.[3] The silos contain over 50,000 tons of grain enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month. The attack came shortly after U.N. workers were allowed to access the silos for the first time in months, in a deliberate attempt to hinder humanitarian efforts.


  1. Houthi’s Failure to Turn Over Port of Hodeida

As recently as May 15, the Houthi’s resumed fighting in Yemen’s port city of Hodeida, breaching the existing cease-fire.[4] This escalation violates the terms of the Stockholm Agreement, signed last December, and effectively halts their promised withdrawal and transfer of port control to the U.N. As the main port of entry, Hodeida is the lifeline for millions of Yemenis threatened by starvation.

[1] CNN Exposes Systematic Abuse of Aid in Yemen, May 20, 2019

[2] U.N. WFP Official Statement, May 20, 2019

[3] Press Release, Embassy of the Republic of Yemen, May 13, 2019

[4] New York Times, May 15, 2019

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