Humanitarian partners reported 575 access incidents in March and April across 32 districts in 13 governorates in Yemen. This is a slight increase compared to the number of incidents reported in January – February, when 489 incidents were reported, mainly due to an increase in incidents involving movement restrictions within Yemen, notably in March.
Movement within and into Yemen by humanitarian organizations remained challenging, with a total of 291 incidents reported. In areas controlled by the Ansar Allah (AA), partner movements continued to be curtailed by denied and delayed travel permits and blockages at checkpoints. Notably, the requirement for national female aid workers to travel with a mahram (a male family member) remained imposed, particularly disrupting service deliveries to women and girls in Al Hodeidah, Hajjah and Sa’dah. Across Yemen, pre-existing movement challenges were compounded by the threat of another wave of COVID-19, which further constrained efforts by partners to maintain and scale up humanitarian programmes and operations.
A spike in bureaucratic impediments were reported in the Red Sea Coast. In the Government of Yemen (GoY) controlled areas, in March, a new unrecognized local authority operating independently of the GoY issued a directive making movement permits and other bureaucratic requirements mandatory for all humanitarian staff and cargo movements on the Red Sea coast near Al Makha and Al Khukhah. Humanitarian movements were routinely blocked at checkpoints, humanitarian staff harassed and deliveries denied and delayed. This was estimated to have affected over 470,000 people in need in these areas. Midway through the month of Ramadan, a waiver was negotiated until the end of Eid allowing re-commencement of humanitarian action. The local authorities then unilaterally extended the waiver until the end of 2021.
Interference in humanitarian operations by local authorities remained a major constraint, with over 263 incidents reported. The majority involved GoY and AA sub-agreement procedures for NGO projects, including demands that breached or otherwise attempted to undermine programmatic and/or operational independence. By the end of April, 110 NGO project sub-agreements (SAs) were reported to remain unimplemented, in part or in full, due to pending approvals delayed for more than 30 days. The pending SAs targeted up to 5 million people in need and had a cumulative budget of US$174 million. During the reporting period, 39 SAs were reported to be approved, including 16 by the Government of Yemen and 23 by Ansar Allah authorities.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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