Yemenis fear cuts to imports and remittances after US blacklishes Houthis By Reuters

SANAA / DUBAI (Reuters) – Yemenis fear that the US decision to blacklist the Houthi movement could further isolate them from the global financial system, depriving the war-stricken country of vital remittances and hampering the flow of imports. . Yemen’s war and the ensuing economic collapse have left 80% of the population dependent on aid. On Thursday, the United Nations aid chief warned that US sanctions would push the country into famine on a scale not seen in nearly 40 years. The World Bank estimates that one in 10 Yemenis relies on remittances, which have already dropped dramatically due to the coronavirus pandemic. Severe inflation has left many basic goods out of reach, foreign exchange reserves have shrunk, and a divided central bank has struggled to pay public sector wages. “I live in a state of fear. I heard that if the American decision is implemented, my brother will not be able to send money. I will lose my family’s only source of food,” said government employee Ahmed Hassan, 43, who has No received salary for four years. Yosra Abdullah’s family, who also live in Houthi-controlled northern Yemen, depend on relatives living in Saudi Arabia and the United States to survive. “If the decision is enacted, it will affect remittances, the family situation will deteriorate,” he told Reuters while shopping at a supermarket in the capital, Sana’a. There was no sign that people were rushing to stock up on goods at Sanaa markets and stores visited by Reuters on Thursday before the Iranian-aligned Houthi group’s designation as a foreign terrorist organization that would take effect on January 19. But many fear Trade and business operations will come to a halt in a country that imports 90% of its food. Foreign banks were cautious when negotiating with Yemen before this appointment, which will penalize institutions with ties to the United States if they deal with Houthi entities. “The biggest problem since the conflict started is money transfers to Yemen … We try to get it from some Arab countries, but it’s largely banned from Europe,” said Adnan Shiban, who runs a charity kitchen that relies on donations. foreign. “It will get worse.” Washington views the Houthis, who toppled the internationally recognized government from power in Sana’a in late 2014 and now control Yemen’s most populous areas, as an extension of Iranian influence in the region. The Houthis deny being Tehran’s puppets and say they are fighting a corrupt system. “IN THE DARK” The UN and NGOs are pressing Washington to revoke the designation. Neither aid groups nor importers have been officially informed about the details of the sanctions or the measures envisaged to guarantee essential imports and aid flows. “We feel in the dark,” said a humanitarian worker who declined to be named. The flow of imports is already painfully slow: Once funds and ships are secured, ships entering the Houthi-run port of Hodeidah must be cleared by a Djibouti-based UN inspection mechanism, and then by the Saudi-led military coalition that has been fighting the Houthis since 2015. Yemen’s humanitarian response plan for 2020 received half of the $ 3.38 billion needed and aid agencies fear the designation could further discourage donors. The head of the World Food Program warned Thursday that the Houthi designation “is going to be a death sentence for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of innocent people in Yemen.”

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