The U.N. made another appeal to the Trump administration not to designate the Houthis as a terrorist organization. The head of the World Food Program met with Pompeo to warn of the devastating effect that the designation would have on the population:
In recent weeks, officials from the United Nations and aid groups have issued increasingly urgent warnings about the potential designation, saying it could dramatically worsen already dire conditions in Yemen by reducing the amount of lifesaving aid and commercial imports moving into the country.
The people of Yemen are already facing famine. Some parts of Yemen are experiencing famine-like conditions right now. Tens of thousands will soon be in this condition, and that is before we take the effects of this possible designation into account:
The International Rescue Committee is extremely concerned by the findings of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) that classified parts of Yemen as experiencing ‘famine like conditions’, with over 47,000 people projected to fall into this category in the next 6 months. Food insecurity and hunger had increased by 60% since April of this year, and in October of this year, child malnutrition was recorded as the highest it has ever been in some areas.
Taking any action that would disrupt humanitarian aid or block economic activity in Houthi-controlled territory amounts to a death sentence for tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of people. Designating the Houthis is exactly the wrong thing to be doing in Yemen right now, and it will cause enormous harm for no good reason. To do this now is to knowingly hasten and worsen the man-made famine that our government’s support for the war has helped to create.
There is an increasingly alarming tone to the emails /statements/tweets/ etc from the UN and humanitarian NGOs about crisis in Yemen.
All are warning of potential famine, the likes of which the world has not seen in decades.
— Mark Leon Goldberg (@MarkLGoldberg) December 4, 2020
Stephen Snyder also reports on the humanitarian disaster that would follow from a designation:
If the United States labels the Houthis as an FTO, many aid activities in Yemen will stop.
“Designation would make it generally illegal for anyone to transact with Ansar Allah armed group [the Houthis] or the government they control in Sana’a,” said Scott Paul, humanitarian policy lead for Oxfam America. “And depending on how it’s designated, it might also prohibit the provision of any form of support, anything as small as a slice of pizza at a training.”