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UN Accesses Red Sea Mills to Process Rotten Grain, Griffiths Arrives in Sana’a

UN gained access on Sunday to Red Sea mills in the key port city of Hodeidah, coinciding with UN envoy’s arrival in rebel-held Sana’a.

The United Nations regained access to donated grain stored in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah on Sunday, and began the task of salvaging food that could stave off starvation for millions of citizens before it rots, Reuters reports.

World Food Program spokesman Herve Verhoosel said a technical team accessed the Red Sea mills facility for the first time since February. The facility held some 51,000 metric tons of wheat — enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month — when the site was rendered inaccessible by fighting in September.

The WFP technical team arrived in the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah on Sunday to begin cleaning and servicing equipment in preparation for milling grain, a WFP spokesman told Reuters.

“More than 2 months have passed since that assessment and the wheat will have most likely further deteriorated in quality, particularly given the hot weather conditions,” Verhoosel said.

Sources familiar with the matter said the WFP-led team traveled from the government-held southern port city of Aden along the western coast, avoiding Houthi-controlled areas after the group denied them access from the north, which it controls.

Houthi officials did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths arrived in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, on an unannounced visit in attempt to push the Houthi rebels to implement a peace agreement and discuss the situation in and around the coastal city of Hodeida.

Hodeida is the main international entry point for 70 percent of imports and humanitarian aid to Yemen.

The Houthis and the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi agreed in December to a UN-sponsored truce and troop withdrawal from Hodeidah. That deal has largely held but violence has escalated in some other parts of the country.

Yemeni government officials accuse the Houthis of violating the peace deal while the Houthis say they need guarantees the government will not take advantage of it to redeploy its forces.

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