DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — A flour mill in Yemen was damaged by artillery fire on Dec. 26, forcing the World Food Programme to suspend grain milling intended for food aid to a starving population, the agency told Reuters.
Yemen has been mired in almost five years of conflict since the Houthi movement ousted Hadi’s government from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014, prompting intervention in 2015 by a Saudi-led military coalition in a bid to restore his government.
The government’s information minister, Moammar al-Eryani, told Reuters the rival Iran-backed Houthi movement had carried out the shelling of the mill, located near the port city of Hodeidah.
A statement from a mill official said the shelling put a hole in a grain silo, exposing it to the elements.
The WFP grain stores at the Red Sea Mills have become a focal point of the conflict in Hodeidah, where the United Nations is trying to enforce a ceasefire and troop withdrawal agreed a year ago at Stockholm peace talks.
The stores were off limits for around six months and were at risk of rotting until the WFP negotiated access in late February and began cleaning and milling what had been enough grain to feed 3.7 million people for a month.
So far just over 2,500 tonnes has been milled into flour and dispatched, the spokesperson told Reuters.