Saudi Arabia exceeds UN targets for humanitarian work overseas

The total assistance provided to Yemen during the past three years amounted to more than $1.543 billion. (AP)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia exceeds UN targets for humanitarian work overseas

  • Saudi Arabia has played a leading role in providing humanitarian aid and relief work by assisting many needy countries to alleviate human suffering and provide vulnerable populations with a decent life: Al-Rabeeah
  • Al-Rabeeah emphasized the Kingdom’s efforts to host refugees as their numbers reached 561,911 Yemenis, 262,573 Syrians and 249,669 from Myanmar

JEDDAH: The head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) announced details of the Kingdom’s humanitarian efforts, which have exceeded targets set by the UN.

Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of KSRelief, said Saudi Arabia’s gross official development assistance (ODA) amounted to $65.9 billion between 1994 and 2014, representing 1.9 percent of the Kingdom’s Gross National Income (GNI) — a percentage that is higher than the United Nations’ target of 0.7 percent of GNI dedicated to ODA.

He added during a meeting with French journalists in Paris: “Saudi Arabia has played a leading role in providing humanitarian aid and relief work by assisting many needy countries to alleviate human suffering and provide vulnerable populations with a decent life.” 

He stressed the Saudi leadership’s keenness to promote humanitarian work, highlighting that King Salman had inaugurated KSRelief on May 13, 2015, to serve as an international body for providing humanitarian assistance and to unite the Kingdom’s foreign-relief efforts under one organization.

“The total assistance provided to Yemen during the past three years amounted to more than $1.543 billion.”

Houthi militias continue to disrupt humanitarian efforts, target residential neighborhoods and humanitarian staff, use children as soldiers, and use anti-craft weapons in civilian areas, he said.

“The Houthi militias have targeted Saudi cities with 133 ballistic missiles and thousands of military projectiles that have killed 107 innocent civilians and injured 870 others in addition to causing damage to 39 schools, 18 mosques, and five hospitals,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah emphasized the Kingdom’s efforts to host refugees as their numbers reached 561,911 Yemenis, 262,573 Syrians and 249,669 from Myanmar. Refugees make up 5.26 percent of the Kingdom’s residents.

Al-Rabeeah said the Kingdom had contributed to humanitarian education projects in 32 countries around the world, highlighting that 132 projects worth more than $5 billion were being implemented, benefiting two million people and 393,000 students.

Earlier, Al-Rabeeah met with members of the Arab Group at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

During the meeting at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, he said the programs involved building educational facilities, teaching students, granting scholarships, providing teaching tools and supplies, and training teachers. The total cost of the programs was $5.212 billion. The Center also provided additional educational projects in nine countries worth $93 million.

He also explained that the center coordinates the transport of aid with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and with the coalition forces in Yemen through the Office of the Military Coordination, to ensure the rapid licensing of commercial and humanitarian vessels. 

“From the beginning of the Yemeni crisis to this day, 22,000 licenses have been issued, whether for vessels, land convoys or aircraft,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah also revealed that a project to provide a residential complex with health centers and schools for Yemeni refugees in Djibouti will be launched soon.

He added that KSRelief was also closely monitoring the suffering of Rohingya refugees in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh. 

He pointed out that the center also recently agreed to undertake a project to provide education for the children of Rohingya refugees in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

The members of the UNESCO Arab Group praised the efforts of the Kingdom, represented by the work of the center, in providing humanitarian relief and aid to needy people in several countries.


Riyadh book fair hears lecture on Bahrain culture industry

Updated 53 min 45 sec ago
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Riyadh book fair hears lecture on Bahrain culture industry

  • Professor Diaa Al-Kaabi presented a survey of all aspects of Bahraini culture, from the early 19th century until the present day
  • She also highlighted the role of prominent Saudis in the founding of major cultural institutions in Bahrain

RIYADH: Riyadh International Book Fair on Wednesday hosted Dr. Diaa Al-Kaabi, who gave a lecture on the role of culture in Bahrain, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The academic, who is a professor at the University of Bahrain, highlighted the role of prominent Saudis in the founding of major cultural institutions in Bahrain. She named Muqbel Al-Zukair, and the families of Al-Gosaibi, Al-Bassam, Al-Ajaji, Al-Mashari and others, as pioneers.
She also mentioned the cultural agreement that was signed in 1974 between the Kingdom and Bahrain as the first such agreement signed between the two Gulf states.
Al-Kaabi presented a survey of all aspects of Bahraini culture, from the early 19th century until the present day. She highlighted major trends in Bahrain’s cultural industry, and the role of societies, theaters and universities, as well as state institutions, in promoting the nation’s culture to an international audience.
She addressed the beginnings of the cultural movement under Sheikh Issa bin Ali, which she considered as the founding of the country’s cultural consciousness. 
It heralded the age of enlightenment in Bahrain, which was part of the modern Arab Renaissance starting from the early nineteenth century, she said.
Al-Kaabi concluded her lecture by stressing that culture, if nurtured, could be a pillar of economic development as it provided many job opportunities and its revenues were high. 
Bahrain is the guest of honor at the fair, which runs until March 23.
A Bahraini pavilion will host 13 cultural events including poetry nights, seminars and children’s programs over the course of the fair. In total, more than 900 global publishing houses are set to participate, with 500,000 books and publications on display, and up to a million visitors expected to attend.