Arab coalition in Yemen sets up civilian safe corridors from Hodeidah to Sanaa

Arab Coalition Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki speaks at a press conference in Riyadh. (File photo / Reuters)
Updated 22 October 2018
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Arab coalition in Yemen sets up civilian safe corridors from Hodeidah to Sanaa

  • Progress in Hodeidah has been slow because the Coalition wants to avoid harming civilians, says spokesman
  • Iranian naval vessel disguised as a registered commercial ship found spying on ships passing through the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb

JEDDAH: The Arab coalition fighting in support of the legitimate Yemeni government has established three safe corridors for civilians to travel between the cities of Sanaa and Hodeidah.

Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said on Monday that the corridors between the former capital that was seized by the Houthi militia in 2014 and the country’s biggest port on the Red Sea have been set up in cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“The coalition is working with OCHA in Yemen to establish safe humanitarian corridors to help in the delivery of aid... between Hodeidah and Sanaa,” Al-Maliki told a press conference in Riyadh.

Al-Maliki said progress in Hodeidah has been slow because the Coalition wants to avoid harming civilians there. He said Yemen's Houthi militia continues to use civilians as human shields in the city of Hodeidah, and have taken oil tankers heading for Sanaa.

He also accused the Iranian regime of continuing "to violate international law and destabilize the security of the region and the world.”

Al-Maliki reported that the coalition had discovered what was thought to be an Iranian-registered commercial ship but was actually a military ship named Safiz. The Iranian vessel is monitoring ships passing through the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb by using listening devices.
He said the coalition will continue to watch “suspicious” ships that threaten international navigation.

Al-Maliki said the corridor being opened in Hodeidah is part of an effort to ensure the safety of civilians. Corridors will be on different routes between the cities for the transportation of humanitarian aid between 6 am and 6 p.m. daily, Al-Maliki said without specifying a date.

An OCHA statement confirmed the organization was in "ongoing discussions with the coalition and other stakeholders on safe, reliable access routes into and out of Hodeidah". 

Hodeidah port is a vital lifeline for aid shipments to Yemen, the most impoverished country in the Arab world.

The UN has warned that any major fighting could halt the distribution of food to eight million Yemenis dependent on aid to survive.

The coalition spokesman also revealed what happened during the visit of UN special envoy, Martin Griffiths, to the Kingdom with Mohammed Al-Jabir, the Saudi ambassador to Yemen. Al-Jabir briefed Griffiths on the Saudi and coalition states’ effort to support humanitarian operations in Yemen, and the Saudi development and reconstruction program for the country. 

The ambassador reaffirmed the support of Griffiths’ efforts to reach a political solution in Yemen.
The Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Lise Grande also recently visited Saudi Arabia, where she said she was particularly grateful to donors for the generous donations that they have made.
She was also thankful that health care is provided to millions of Yemenis. Furthermore, Grande mentioned how the World Food Program is distributing food to eight million Yemenis.
Several relief ports are open for Yemen (air, sea, land) and the total maritime permits issued by Hodeidah port from the Joint Forces Command from Sept. 17 to 24 is 31,242. The air permits during the same period were 5,928 passengers and 103 flights. As for land permits during this period, there were 12.

Meanwhile, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) in the city of Marib on Monday celebrated the rehabilitation of 26 children recruited by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia and were used as human shields in the armed conflict.

The children completed the fifth and sixth phase of the rehabilitation process, which aimed at rehabilitating 80 child soldiers from several Yemeni governorates, with the help of a KSRelief team, representatives from the local authority and a number of parents.

The child soldiers presented ceremonial segments that reflected their psychologically and social rehabilitation efforts.

The center was working to rehabilitate 241 children from different Yemeni governorates as part of its plan to rehabilitate 2,000 Yemeni child soldiers.


KSRelief signs agreements for relief to Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians

Updated 25 April 2019
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KSRelief signs agreements for relief to Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians

  • Al-Rabeeah: We have no hidden agenda in Syria and we work through international organizations

BEIRUT: The general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, signed on Wednesday seven agreements with Beirut and international and civil organizations operating in Lebanon to implement relief projects targeting Syrian and Palestinian refugees as well as the most affected host communities in Lebanon.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who participated in the symposium at the Four Seasons Hotel Beirut to sign the agreements, praised the strong Saudi-Lebanese relations, which have existed for decades, and stressed Lebanon’s keenness to ensure their permanence and development.

He said: “The meetings Al-Rabeeah has held with different Lebanese political and religious authorities over the past two days during his visit to Lebanon, under the guidance of King Salman, indicate the Saudi leadership’s true desire to deepen the fraternal ties with the Lebanese, support Lebanon’s unity, independence, sovereignty and coexistence formula, and protect its existence from the repercussions of all the fires, crises and interventions that plague many countries.”

During the symposium, which was attended by a large group of political, religious and social figures, Al-Rabeeah called on the international donor community to shoulder more responsibility.

Addressing the implementing bodies, he said: “It is time to reconsider your working mechanisms in order to develop them and improve procedures to avoid negative impacts.”

“What I mean by reconsidering working processes is that there is a need to work professionally and skillfully because there are not many resources, and we must eliminate bureaucracy and speedily make the most of resources,” Al-Rabeeah told Arab News.

He stressed the importance of developing a close partnership between the donor and the implementer of projects, highlighting that KSRelief’s work is subject to international and regional oversight mechanisms as well as its own internal control mechanisms.

“We have two strategic partners, and when agreements are signed with the recipients of assistance, this means accepting oversight terms,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah said: “Saudi Arabia supports the safe return of Syrian refugees to their country, and so is the case for Yemen.”

“Saudi Arabia has supported peaceful dialogues, which restore security and stability,” he said. “In order for this to happen in Syria, we support the efforts of the United Nations and implement (as KSRelief) relief programs inside Syria. We also have major programs and we count on the UN to ensure a safe return for Syrian refugees.”

On the Syrian regions in which KSRelief is implementing its programs and the difficulties faced, Al-Rabeeah told Arab News: “We have nothing to do with military or religious matters, and wherever there is security, we work. We also work through the UN and the international organizations inside Syria, and we do not have any hidden agenda in this field.”

He stressed that “participating in rebuilding Syria requires security and stability, and the Saudi leadership hopes for a peaceful solution as soon as possible. Until this is achieved, the relief work will continue and won’t cease.”

Al-Rabeeah announced that KSRelief is implementing a quality program to rehabilitate recruited children in Yemen alongside its education, protection, health and environment projects.

“There are those who recruit children to fight in Yemen, violating all humanitarian laws. Our center rehabilitates them so that they are not used as terrorist tools in the future,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah emphasized that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 has given relief work its share, especially in terms of volunteering programs. “We have great examples involved in the field,” he said.

Among the signed agreements was one with the Lebanese High Relief Commission (HRC) to carry out a project to cover the food needs of Lebanese families.

Chairman of Lebanon’s High Relief Commission Maj. Gen. Mohammed Khair told Arab News that the agreement targets distributing 10,000 food rations to orphans, widows and destitute families in the poorest and most disadvantaged areas in Lebanon. “This project is encouraging and gives hope to people,” he said.

Khair said that there are 100,000 people in need in Bab Al-Tabbaneh district alone, pledging to commit to transparency during the implementation of the project. “It is not a question of sectarian balance; we are focused on those who are most in need,” he said.

The signed agreements include one for repairing, equipping, and operating the Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Center for Dialysis at the Makassed General Hospital, an agreement with the UNHCR worth $5 million to implement a project for assisting the most affected Syrian families for six months, an agreement to support Souboul Assalam Association in Akkar (northern Lebanon), an agreement with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to implement a project worth $3.8 million to cover the needs of Syrian families that are below the poverty line for a year, and an agreement with UNRWA to cover the medical needs and treatment of cancer and multiple sclerosis in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said: “The challenge facing UNRWA after the reduction of its budget is maintaining the operation of its 715 schools in the Middle East.”

“Saudi Arabia is a key partner for us, and owing to its help, we will be able to help cancer and multiple sclerosis patients,” he said.