Arab coalition announces $1.5bn aid package for Yemen

Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabiah (C), adviser at the Saudi Royal Court and General Supervisor of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), speaks during a press conference on the sidelines of the meeting of foreign ministers of the member states of the Saudi-led coalition battling rebels in Yemen, in the Saudi capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2018
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Arab coalition announces $1.5bn aid package for Yemen

RIYADH: Foreign ministers of the Saudi-led Arab coalition have announced a new $1.5 billion humanitarian aid package for Yemen.
The coalition met in Riyadh on Monday after the recent escalation in Houthi ballistic missile attacks on Saudi Arabia.
“The coalition will coordinate ... $1.5 billion in new humanitarian aid funding for distribution across UN agencies and international relief organizations,” the coalition announced in a statement.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said in the opening statement: “Saudi Arabia has been the target of over 91 Houthi ballistic missiles.”
He blamed the militia for hardships ordinary Yemenis are facing: “The Houthis are responsible for the destruction in Yemen.”
The extensive aid plan was announced to help ease the suffering of the Yemeni people and ensure fair distribution of the aid.
The plan includes a six-flights-per-day airbridge of C-130 cargo planes filled with supplies to Maarib.
After the meeting, coalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki, King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) head Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the Saudi and UAE ambassadors to Yemen and the UAE representative took questions regarding the plan.
The latest aid package, which follows last week’s $2 billion Saudi cash injection to Yemen’s central bank, comes amid an ever-broadening crisis in the country.
The new program seeks to open land, sea and air lanes to Yemen to boost monthly imports to 1.4 million metric tons from 1.1 million last year, the statement said.
The estimated number of Yemeni people in need of humanitarian help is close to 21 million, 10 million of whom are in dire need.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE will present $1 billion to the plan for Yemen humanitarian aid in 2018.
Since 2015 the Kingdom has delivered $8.1 billion in humanitarian assistance as well as $2 billion in development aid.
To facilitate the delivery of aid to the interior parts of Yemen, the coalition will set up 17 safe-passage corridors originating from six points.
The coalition also said it would also “increase the capacities of Yemeni ports to receive humanitarian” imports.
Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber said: “When the Houthis launch missiles at Saudi Arabia they expect a big reaction, and that is true, our reaction is huge, and that is to increase our help and aid to the Yemeni people.”
Coalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki echoed his words. “The Houthis try to provoke the coalition through their missiles and their attacks, but we fight back by giving more humanitarian aid to our brotherly country Yemen.”
“The coalition is placing its military resources at the disposal of these broad-ranging humanitarian operations,” Al-Maliki said. “We are backing a professionally planned and detailed humanitarian mission with military power and precision to guarantee that the humanitarian aid reaches the people who need it to lift their suffering.”


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.