FILE - People in the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah have been provided with vouchers by the World Food Programme which they can exchange for food. (March 2019)
FILE - People in the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah have been provided with vouchers by the World Food Programme which they can exchange for food. (March 2019)

The World Food Program (WFP) says it has delivered food in the rebel-held militarized zone of Nihm for the first time since civil war broke out in Yemen more than four years ago. Nihm governorate is northeast of the rebel Houthi-held capital, Sana’a, close to the Saudi Arabian border.

WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel says persistent negotiations have paid off. He says WFP and a partner organization, Islamic Relief, have distributed food to an estimated 5,000 people living near the front lines in the Nihm district. He says the agencies gave out two months of rations at two food distribution points.

“This is an important achievement for WFP as the district has been a front line conflict area, which is very difficult to access and that since a long time," he said. "However, reports by NGOs working in Nihm indicated some populations where hostilities are more intense had no access to the food distribution point.”

In another bit of good news, Verhoosel says WFP has been able to provide humanitarian aid to vulnerable civilians around Dhuraimi city in Hodeidah governorate for the first time in a year.

The rebel-held port of Hodeidah is the principle entry point for vital humanitarian relief, including food, water, medicine and medical supplies. The area has been engulfed in intense conflict between the Houthis and government-supported Saudi-led coalition forces.

Verhoosel says WFP has provided a two-month supply of food, water, hygiene kits and dignity kits from the U.N. children’s fund and U.N. Population Fund. He says both parties to the conflict have helped WFP gain access to the area.

The United Nations calls Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. It warns around 14 million people, or half the country’s population, are on the brink of famine. WFP says it is distributing food to 10 million people a month. It says it hopes to boost that number to 12 million.