Mona Relief's ground crew gets arrested by security authorities in al-Hamassia village of Bait al-Fakeh district in Hodeidah governorate after finishing food aid delivery funded by Kuwaiti donor
On December 10th, 2016
As Mona Relief's ground crew arrived in al-Hamassia village of Bait al-Fakeh district in Hodeidah governorate in western Yemen with the truck loading 100 food aid packages funded by an anonymous Kuwaiti donor to be delivered to 100 vulnerable families living in that village. We met there by 3 people warning us to not to distribute food aid in the village and if we did we will face challenges and perhaps we will get arrested by authorities at Bait al-Fakeh district. Actually, I told them that we came to this village to just help people and that is our goal and we don’t have any another choice except to do so.
Before we decided to reach out families there, I didn’t expect any challenges that will face us in that area because I'm aiming to help people in Hodeidah with urgent food aid, however, and unfortunately, we face obstacles that weren't in our consideration.
Anyway, We had arrived in the village at 5:40 PM, the sunset time, at that time we didn't have any choice except to distribute food and to return back to Hodeidah city 100 km far from our place in al-Hamassia village especially with the warning that we had received from some people in that village.
As I'm preparing to distribute food aid packages to beneficiaries, I received a phone call "via the phone of a person in the village who alerted us along with others to not distribute food aid. During the conversation, a powerful person, who introduced himself that he is from the security headquarters in Bait al-Fakeh district, that person told me that we are not allowed to deliver food packages in the field unless we gave him some of the packages, during the conversation I told him that packages must be delivered to 100 vulnerable families in the village and I can't hand him over any package. So, he ordered me to stop delivering food before his coming along with other armed men. I refused his orders and started delivering beneficiaries their food aid package.
Food delivery as you can notice in the pictures was in the night and in the dark and we were in a very bad situation as we were afraid from any bad behavior toward me and my ground crew. Anyway, I insisted to finish our mission in helping people and indeed, I did and I delivered all food to poor people three.
Believe or not, the people among them the person, who I received a phone call via his phone and who warned us to not distribute food aid packages were amongst the beneficiaries and they received food aid package each. After finishing distributing food these people stopped us and prevented us to leave the village except after the arrival of the powerful person to the village. Actually, we had been waiting his arrival to the village with his armed men to investigate us.
As they arrived in the village, they took all our cellphones and all our money heading us to the security headquarters in Bait al-Fakeh district, where we stayed there some hours until we found a solution to get out of this matter. In fact, I contacted our friends in Sana'a and Hodeidah governorates before the arrival of the power person along with his armed men about the problem that we are facing in that village and they interfered to sort out that matter and we got out safely.
Something very strange happened to us during food delivery, I had seen people there fighting each other in order to get food. When I told the power person about that. He replied on me, it is not my problem and let them die.