Yemen's Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Abdul-Malik al-Mekhlafi discussed with the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick and the UN Asst. Secretary General and Humanitarian Affairs Advisor Ridwan al-Nuwaiser the humanitarian situation and ongoing Yemen-UN cooperation to counter humanitarian disaster caused by the military coup.
Al-Mekhlafi gave the UN officials an account on the government's efforts in countering the humanitarian crisis and its commitment to work with all the UN organizations to raise funds for the humanitarian response plan and cholera fighting plan.
The minister noted that while everyone is in favor of enough supply of humanitarian aid through the Yemeni ports, a clear transparent plan for aid distribution is needed, and the rebel militia's frequent confiscation of aid convoys and arrest of aid workers needs to be stopped.
The minister pointed to the suffering of Taiz from a two year old siege laid around the city by the Houthi-Saleh militias, saying relief aid should be delivered to Taiz via a safe route from Aden, away from the rebels' areas of control.
Al-Mekhlafi pointed to the deteriorated humanitarian situation in Hodeidah; "The people suffer want and the threat of famine, while the militias maintain control over revenues of the province and its seaport to continue to fund their war against the people. They rather use the Hodeidah seaport to smuggle weapons and threaten the international shipping activity."
The minister said that the rebels use the revenues of their areas to finance their war and enrich their leaders instead of transferring those funds to the Central Bank so that the government can fulfill its obligation of paying salaries to civil servants.
"The militias stole 581 billlion Yemeni rials in the past year alone- revenues collected. The amount can suffice to pay the salaries of the state employees for seven months."
Al-Mekhlafi underscored the importance of cooperation between Yemen and the UN in removing the internationally prohibited anti-personnel landmines planted by the militias in various areas across the country. The landmines, according to him, pose a threat to the present and the future, obstruct the return of the internationally displaced people back to their homes and make it unsafe to deliver relief aid to some areas.
Al-Mekhlafi said the number of cholera infections is rising at at an alarming speed. "Only 60% of the finance for the humanitarian response plan has been secured so far."