Breifing on what is going on between SCMCHA and WFP

Breifing on what is going on between SCMCHA and WFP 10 February 2020 A state of tension is taking place between the so-called Assistance Coordination Council (SCMCHA) and the humanitarian organizations. The two sides need to reach an understanding and rapprochement. SCMCHA has not completed its legal structure as of yet, nor has it received endorsement from the Revolution Leader, Mr. Abdul Malik (May God keep him safe). The insistence on [the establishment of] SCMCHA came from Mr. Ahmad Hamed, Head of Presidency Office, and its decisions are not approved by its appointed members - and some of its decisions are reckless. The media campaign led by the alleged Council (SCMCHA) against the organizations did not stop and was not fact-based in most cases. SCMCHA alleges that the organizations, mainly WFP and UNICEF, distribute spoiled commodities. It continues to repeat this allegation despite our call to both sides to stop media confrontations. WFP shows commitment from its side to our advice in this regard whereas SCMCHA continues its allegations through Al-Masirah TV channel, some leaders of which do not validate the statements or seek evidence-based facts supported by documents. We have reviewed and looked at WFP’s explanations with regard to the spoiled commodities. I am convinced that most of the spoilage (of commodities) resulted from delaying or preventing the distribution (of food) by some Yemeni officials. The brothers in NAMCHA (previously) or SCMCHA (now) did not prove to me their assertions that food commodities were already spoiled when they came from WFP - before the distribution delays - with the exception of one case where a small part of a shipment onboard a vessel was spoiled. That shipment was returned to Oman where it was treated and purified. The spoiled food - a very small quantity compared to the size of the shipment - was removed, and the good-quality part of the shipment was imported [into Yemen]. Now, a new problem has emerged as WFP informed us through a letter that 2550 bags of lentils were looted from its warehouses in Abbs district (Hajja Governorate) and demanded that these commodities be returned to its warehouse. I contacted some (local authority) officials there (in Hajja) who showed attention to the issue but we didn't see any tangible results. I proposed to form a committee to conduct investigation into the issue and in the event that the alleged theft is proved, the concerned authorities shall punish the thieves and indemnify WFP or refer their claim to the Court. However, I didn't receive any response from the concerned authorities to our efforts in this regard. WFP explained that its position (following the incident) was to suspend the distribution of assistance in Hajjah unless this issue is addressed by authorities within one week. From my side, I asked WFP not to suspend distributions until I play my role to resolve this issue. Nonetheless, my efforts went in vain due to the intransigence of the so-called SCMCHA which threatened in a letter addressed to WFP that if WFP suspends distributions, they (SCMCHA) will stop all WFP movements across Yemen, although this procedure is illegal and does not fall within SCMCHA mandates. Our position is to call on the so-called SCMCHA to stop creating tensions with organizations completely, deal with them legally and responsibly, and put an end to the media campaign directed, especially through Al - Masirah TV channel, against humanitarian organizations, including mainly WFP. We also called SCMCHA and the concerned authorities to abide by the agreements signed between both sides. SCMCHA allegations aired on Al-Masirah channel that WFP’s threat to suspend its work comes as a result of the victories of the blessed Mujahideen in Nihm district (Sanaa governorate) are incorrect. The tension between the two sides (WFP and SCMCHA) was there before [the recent developments in Nihm] and exploiting this issue [the situation in Nihm] and utilizing it by SCMCHA within its intrigues is inappropriate. Given the current situat ion that Yemen is undergoing and the need for humanitarian assistance, we are against this tension between the two sides and against SCMCHA media campaign which is unfair and biased in most of its content. Some requests made by SCMCHA to WFP, including moving fully to the cash assistance modality instead of in-kind food provision, and that WFP should purchase food from local traders, are unconvincing, uninformed and non-binding for WFP. Some objectives that SCMCHA is attempting to achieve are irresponsible, reckless and fraught with danger. This position from our side concerning this issue stems from my responsibility and vision towards the interest of the Yemeni people and the current situation. Seeking justice for all people in our country is a sacred act that brings us closer to Allah. May Allah guide us all to his will. Yahya Badraddin Al-Houthi Minister of Education
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