SANA’A – Since the beginning of Saudi-led aggression war on Yemen, the poor of Yemen have been the most vulnerable victims of their heavy consequences, often being forced to turn to easy foodstuffs donated by the United Nations for survival.
Several organizations have shown a pleasant angelic face, like a savior who holds the hopes of desperate people, but this quickly turned out to be a specter that undermines the dreams of the hungry and robs those who have been afflicted with a shortage of money, souls and fruits of their patience.
Soad Malik, an 11-year old girl, from Abs district in the northwestern province of Hajjah, was hit by severe watery diarrhea. Her father said that it was because of eating a “biscuit from the UN World Food Programme distributed by a local relief organization, which has been operating in Yemen since 2015.”
After conducting a medical test in the health unit of the Abs district, it was found that the main cause was eating contaminated and rotten food.
The delegates of World Food Programme’s partner organizations had distributed 20 cartons of biscuits in Abs district, out of a total of 120 that were seized shortly by the Bureau of Industry and Commerce in the district. A committee from the Bureau of Industry and Commerce confirmed after examining the quantity that it is corrupted and infested with worms.
Soad is not the only one!
Saad is one of the thousands of female students who have suffered food poisoning caused by their intake of biscuits provided by the UN’s school feeding project in the region and many other Yemeni provinces.
Local sources told the Al-Thawra newspaper that a large number of students in seven schools of Shamayatayn district, in the southern part of Taiz, had contracted infectious food poisoning after eating biscuits stuffed with dates, that were distributed by the World Food Programme in March.
According to the Directorate’s Education Bureau, “the inspection of these meals revealed that many of them were damaged and infested with worms in some samples.”
The damaged and rotten food distributed by the World Food Programme (WFP) through its internal partners is not limited to biscuits distributed through the so-called “school feeding project”, but in fact, most of the relief aid distributed by them are in a state of decay and infested with worms, or have been exposed to the sun continuously. In other cases, the food is close to the expiration date, and their poor storage and transport between the provinces damage them and make them become unsuitable for human consumption.
Six months after Saad had contracted food poisoning, the Consumer Protection Association announced that a shipment containing 163.000 bags of the World Food Programme arrived at the port of Hodeidah has been rejected on May 18 by the Yemen Standardization, Metrology and Quality Control Organization because they are “damaged and obscure, and not suitable for human consumption.”
The Association added in a statement obtained by Al-Thawra newspaper that the Programme imported 15.000 empty bags of flour during the month of April. The Standards Authority denounced the import due to severe misconduct on behalf of the WFP. Apparently, the World Food Programme, wrote the production and expiry date, as well as the country of origin of the flour that wasn’t there yet, in advance on the empty bags. This was done despite there being no guarantee that any of the information would be accurate for the flour that had not even arrived in Yemen yet.
“Over 24,570 bags of expired flour were seized in the World Food Programme’s warehouses during a campaign carried out by the Ministry of Industry and government agencies in Sana’a from 16 Sha’aban to 16 Ramadan. Over 90 tons of expired flour that was not fit for consumption was destroyed by the Standards Authority,” the official statement said.
The Ministry of Industry called on donors to re-evaluate the role of the World Food Programme and to work out a new mechanism of cash assistance through banks, replacing the import process with the purchase of flour, oil and legumes products from Yemeni producers and manufacturers. This would also serve to stabilize the national currency and create new jobs to reduce unemployment, as well as get healthy food products suitable for human consumption in country going through tragic circumstances.
In May 2017, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) admitted the delivery of a shipment of rotten aid to Aden, estimated at 32,000 tons of wheat.
According to a WFP statement, a ship loaded with about 32,000 metric tons of wheat grain, which was enough to feed 2.5 million people for a month, arrived at the port of Aden during April 2017 as part of emergency food aid, but part of the payload was spoiled because of its exposure to seawater damage.
Al-Thawra Newspaper obtained documents for the investigation records conducted by the Prosecutor in Abs district, Ali al-Shammari, in the center of the district, Beni Hassan area and Shafar district, shows large quantities of rotten food in World Food Programme stores.
In Abs district, the investigation in the presence of FAO representative Mohammed al-Naami, Director of the Industry and Trade Bureau Yahya Ahmed, and local council representative Ali Sawaan, recorded that WFP stores had 2,024 wheat bags of 50 kg a piece of which the production date was May 2018.
“There are 286 bags of 50 kg of lentils that are valid and undamaged and should be separated from the damaged wheat plus six tons of oil, i.e. 370 cans that are valid until August,” the FAO representative said.
“These quantities must be distributed at the earliest opportunity before they are destroyed in their warehouses,” he added.
In the stores of Tihama Mills and Al-Ameri stores belonging to the World Food Organization, another judicial investigation revealed “the presence of about 500 expired sacks of wheat out of a total of 1,384. No fewer than 460 of this total had already been distributed, while 140 were found exposed to sunlight, moisture and rain. Some insects were found as well, and the food has been classified as decayed and unfit for human use.”
According to the owner of the Tihama Mills, Majid al-Sharfi, “there are large quantities still stored in the hangers, as well as quantities of lentils that are expected to be out of date , and the quantities stored in the hangers amount to 27,429 bags of expired wheat and about 1,095 of feeding bags of Balma.”
The National Authority for the Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Response has submitted a report to the Danish Council (a WFP partner) on the 6th of May, requesting a replacement with suitable materials and a fast distribution of proper food, as the situation of families cannot be delayed.
Rotten beans and legumes
Furthermore, Al-Thawra Newspaper has also obtained exclusive documentation of and the outcomes of tests conducted by the Bureau of Industry and Trade in Sanhan district.
The documents revealed that some 707 bags of Turkish beans of 30 kilograms are full of insects and thus unfit for human consumption.
The World Food Programme had however already distributed some of them in nine schools in Sana’a province, the document confirmed. According to the Bureau of Industry and Trade in Sannahan and Beni Bahlul district , the quantity seized in the two district amount to 36 tons and 285 kilograms.
Addressing the program
Faisal Modhesh, the undersecretary of the coordination sector in the National Authority, told al-thawra that the National Authority addressed the program more than once, whether from the head office or branches in the governorates, ” meetings were also held several times with the program to discuss the corrupt foods and the huge quantities of those foods, and the program attributed the reason for the storage, transport and obstruction facing them in Yemeni ports by the alliance of aggression.”
Modhesh added that the corrupt foods impacted on the thousands of beneficiary families that were allocated to them and deprived of monthly aid in Amran and Taiz and the Secretariat of the capital Sana’a and in most of the governorates of Yemen in general.
It may be appropriate to go back to the causes of the deterioration of World Food Program assistance in Yemen. Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the Internal Trade Sector, Abdullah Numan, told Al-Thawra that the choice of the UN for its internal representatives is inappropriate, Where they are stored for reasons we do not know, “he said.” Are there internal beneficiaries asking them to do this, that is, they tell them to book it for our goods at the expense of the hunger of the citizens? “He added,” This is what we need to know. And we hope that if The ministry was among the list of the Food Expiration Commission.”
Threats to stop aid
The World Food Program has threatened to stop the distribution of relief aid to beneficiaries on the pretext of obstruction of the leadership in Sana’a, the threat of a detector reflects the size of corruption within the organization, which turned into a state of blackmail and compromise on the Yemeni forces, putting arbitrary conditions in front of the delivery of aid in cash to beneficiaries such as submitting data including footprint and image, National Higher Committee for Disaster Response said that the delivery of beneficiary data will be to a local entity such as a postal or local bank, which was rejected by the World Food Program the National Higher Committee said that they will handed over the data to an agreed party and considered the program’s threats to be a blackmail of the Yemeni people in their power.
“taking the fingerprint and image of citizens is a sovereign right and the organs of the state only have the right to implement it, the program is not entitled to take pictures and fingerprints of beneficiaries and share with Donors, including the forces of aggression countries, ” Modhesh said.
World Food fabrications and scandal of corrupt aid in Taiz Asalo
While the program said that relief aid in Yemen is being robbed and cited in the Salo Directorate in Taiz province in southwestern Yemen, a document obtained by the revolution proves that the damaged quantities in the Asalo district were not stolen but delayed because some school principals refused to return the quantities Damaged only after the arrival of alternative quantities.
And in a memorandum submitted by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Authority Ahmed Mohamed Hamid to To Mr. Mark Lockock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs said that “WFP’s expired food items included wheat flour, bean, millet, feed, legumes, food supplements and foodstuffs.
” such violations are a blatant example of a set of practices that may affect the nature of the relationship between The official authorities and organizations, and it will be reflected negatively on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in all governorates of the Republic of Yemen » Hamid added.
Over the past four months, WFP has deprived about 31,320 families in Abes from their food rations for February, April and May, while its stores in these areas are rife with aid that is subsequently depleted because of its storage and deprivation of citizens.
It is not only the deprivation of citizens in need, but the thousands of recent additions to the families of poverty and hardship, which raised by the National Authority to the food program, collected by local partners have not been disbursed, and not included in the organizations lists of beneficiaries without reasons.
In the isolation of Bani Hassan in Abes «The Takaful Association, a partner of the food program to deprive entire villages of aid, was not registered despite the existence of poor families. Takaful Association task is to register beneficiaries, but its task was limited to field visits only.
Knowing that the Association has been disbursed in some villages in isolation without notice to the National Authority to do so or send the distribution table or sit with them to establish an appropriate mechanism for disbursement and therefore demanded the Commission to stop it in the region »according to a document sent by the Office of the Commission to Sana’a.
These unfair practices against thousands of poor families are one of the negative practices of Yemen’s food program partners, which have increased in recent months, despite addressing the program and the United Nations of these deliberate violations and their negative consequences on Yemeni society in light of the difficult humanitarian situation it is experiencing by the country as a result of the aggressive war waged by Saudi Arabia and its partners in the region, such as the UAE, the Zionist entity and foreign partners from European countries and the US over Yemen for more than four years. In addition, the delay in the submission of beneficiaries’ statements by the program partners in the directorates at the country level, despite all the directives issued by the Authority in Sana’a to the various governorates it administers; to cooperate with the partners of the Food Program and to facilitate their tasks to ensure their implementation in accordance with the mechanism agreed between the Commission and the program, and in a manner that respects the privacy of the beneficiaries.
WFP partners record the preparation of lists of beneficiaries and the distribution, disbursement, import, transfer and storage of aid provided without any interference by the authorities only in a supervisory manner.
Contrary to what is claimed by the Director of the Food Program, which held the responsibility of Sana’a to obstruct the access of assistance to citizens. The program controls and observe directly or through a third party partner, but more than this the World Food Office in Jordan contact directly with the beneficiaries of food assistance provided to ensure the arrival of aid as a form of internal control.
WFP’s international donors select a third party to monitor aid as a form of external oversight. WFP cannot choose the third party selected and directly imposed by donors, including Saudis and Americans (partners of aggression against Yemen.)
Financial corruption robs citizens’ livelihoods
The World Food Program (WFP) is aware of this corruption, which also reduces the amount of food rations provided to beneficiary families to increase household numbers and the number of individuals targeted rather than increasing the amount of aid
On the other hand, the program provides monthly plans in quantities allocated to the provinces, and often does not reach all those quantities to the target areas and distribution points according to the quantities specified in the monthly plans.
There are many documented cases that are related to the actual cost of the food basket, as well as the series of costs added to provide assistance that exceeds the actual value of food baskets by up to 500% as the lowest estimate by local experts. For example, One project costs more than half a million dollars to distribute only 10,000 food baskets in one area in Hajjah province.
Another example of the corruption is that at the end of last year, one state donated 750,000 Euros, through WFB that carried out a relief project with 50 thousand Euros, and Seven hundred thousand Euros of the amount was allocated to the project’s operational expenses,
Among the actions committed by the Food Program and its partners is the importation of foodstuffs marked with the banners of the countries of aggression against Yemen. These violations are part of the psychological warfare that these countries resorted to with their military failure to subdue and humiliate the Yemeni people, who enters the fifth year in the war and the imposed blockade from the countries of the aggression.
Money laundering and tax evasion
In January of this year, a document submitted to the National Authority revealed some of the serious abuses carried out by the partners of the program in the light of aggression, and these abuses can cause serious damage to national security, including «non-commitment of partners In the times and tracks specified in the permits issued by the National Authority, that caused the detention of their cargo by the security committees in some areas .
The documents attached to the investigation also revealed the transfer of the partners of the program Foodstuffs of the commercial agency of traders to evade customs and tax, including (cooking oil of the Pasha) of the Agency for General Trade” Dadiah ” which is a serious legal and security violation.
Three billion dollars … Where is the money?
In April, a group of activists launched an online campaign its slogan” # Where is the Money ?”
The campaign demands the disclosure of the fate of billions of dollars of relief aid received by the United Nations from its donors as a means to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Yemen and to promote transparency in the dealings between external organizations and internal partners , The campaign ended with an extortionist statement from the director of the food program.
Yemeni activists have published a list of 62 international and local organizations that received an exaggerated amount of international support in the name of relief for Yemenis in need, particularly United Nations organizations.
They called on the organizations to reveal the fate of these sums which were taken up by what they called the “black hole”.
“Only 20 percent of the figures were received,” media sources said at the time that this list of international and local organizations have received since the beginning of the war.
About 23 billion dollars to fund relief aid to Yemen, including nearly half a billion dollars during the first quarter of this year, according to what is Officially made public, but the fate of these amounts remain unknown in the absence of transparency in spending and its destination.
WFP official in Yemen acknowledged that during the years of the war in Yemen, WFP received more than $ 3 billion for humanitarian relief work in Yemen, and that WFP disbursed 6.5 per cent of the Organization’s operational and administrative expenses.
On the one hand, the operational expenses of some international organizations exceed 10 percent. Local organizations, which receive their funding from international organizations as intermediaries for the implementation of distributions on the ground, account for more than 20 percent of administrative and operational expenses, and fraud accompanying financial corruption », according to the newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi issued from London.
In the context of the financial corruption of relief organizations, including the World Food Program, a document from the United Nations – obtained by the «al-Thwara Newspaper » – eight employees in one of its organizations operating in Yemen received about 50 million dollars (30 billion Yemeni riyals) as salary for 11 months only.
The UN is also paying huge sums to secure housing for its employees, in addition to other allowances such as ” risk premium, “especially since Yemen is a dangerous area for them.
Another kind of corruption from the organization is the cost of delivering aid to areas of conflict, which the United Nations said was “too expensive”. The document also showed that WFP’s Internet costs in one year amounted to “two million and two hundred thousand dollars (660 million Yemeni riyals) while thousands of families are starving.
Soad is still waiting for her family’s share of food aid for the month of May, despite three months of absence from them and millions of needy people in different governorates, while the world food dispels the amounts of donors in the wages of housing, cars, and tickets without paying any attention to such cases classified by the program The United Nations “as the worst contemporary humanitarian crisis in the world.”
While the aggression has increased the poor, the homeless and the hungry, they have produced tycoons and wealthy people who collect money day after day, so that the organizations and the state of corruption become a common feature throughout Yemen and its various governorates.