UN regains access to Red Sea mills grains in Yemen

A crane unloads wheat from a cargo ship in Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hodeidah on November 7, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 26 February 2019
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UN regains access to Red Sea mills grains in Yemen

GENEVA: The UN said Tuesday it had reached food aid warehouses on the frontlines in Yemen, holding enough supplies to feed millions of people, for the first time since September.

“I have just received a piece of good news. Finally, it was possible for us to reach the Red Sea Mills,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a pledging conference for Yemen in Geneva.

A spokesman for the UN’s World Food Programme said that it was an evaluation mission that had reached the warehouse near the western port city of Hodeida.

“Today, for the first time since September, a World Food Programme team was able to reach the site of the Red Sea Mills, which holds 51,000 metric tons of grain, which is enough to feed more than 3.7 million people for a month,” Herve Verhoosel said.

“We do not yet have the technical results from today’s evaluation, but we hope to be able to begin using this site again as soon as possible,” he added.

The mission follows an agreement struck in Sweden on February 17, in which the sides in Yemen’s conflicts agreed to redeploy their fighters outside the ports and away from areas that are key to the humanitarian relief effort in the country.

The ports are in the Houthi-held west of the country, and the agreement especially set out free access to the grain warehouses at Red Sea Mills, under control of the Saudi-backed government forces.

The conflict has killed around 10,000 people — most of them civilians — and has left more than 60,000 wounded, according to the World Health Organization.

The conflict has also created what the UN describes as the world’s worse humanitarian crisis, with some 10 million people are on the verge of famine.

Guterres was Tuesday leading a pledging conference in Geneva aimed at raising $4.2 billion to help more than 21 million people in dire need of humanitarian aid.

In total, the UN estimates that more than 24 million people, or 80 percent of the population, needs assistance, including two million people who are affected by the humanitarian crisis in the past year alone.

“Two million girls, boys, women and men in need of lifesaving aid would be a significant emergency on its own,” Guterres said, adding though that “In Yemen, it is a small fraction of an overwhelming humanitarian calamity.”

According to the UN appeal published Tuesday, 14.3 million of Yemen’s inhabitants are in acute need of assistance, and Guterres stressed the particularly heavy burden on children.

“Children did not start the war in Yemen, but they are paying the highest price,” he said.

Around 360,000 children in the country are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and Guterres pointed to a “credible” report issued by Save the Children last November, indicating that more than 80,000 infants under the age of five may have died of starvation since 2015.


Council of Arab Interior Ministers calls for cooperation to alleviate suffering of terrorism victims

Updated 23 April 2019
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Council of Arab Interior Ministers calls for cooperation to alleviate suffering of terrorism victims

  • Mohammed bin Ali Koman says the situation requires the cooperation of all to alleviate the suffering of the victims and their families
  • He was commemorating Arab Day to raise awareness of the pain of victims of terrorist acts

TUNIS: Not only does the harm caused by terrorist crimes affect innocent victims, it also leaves their families and communities with psychological and social pain, the Secretary-General of the Council of Arab Ministers of the Interior has said.

This situation requires the cooperation of all to alleviate the suffering of the victims and their families and help them overcome their predicament, Dr. Mohammed bin Ali Koman said.

Koman was commemorating Arab Day to raise awareness of the pain of victims of terrorist acts, held every year on April 22 by the General Secretariat of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers, member states and the League of Arab States.

“Today is an opportunity to raise awareness of the pain and tragedies of victims of terrorist attacks and encourage all initiatives undertaken by official bodies and civil society organizations to alleviate their suffering,” he said.

“The effects of terrorist crimes have exceeded aggression against human lives and property to psychological and social impacts as well as affecting families,” he said.

“Terrorist crimes result in a continuous bleeding to the heart of affected communities, especially with the terrorist media being devoted to inspiring and promoting their criminal operations, which have affected thousands of victims, including children, women and the elderly.”

He hailed the efforts of the security services in their fight against terrorism and the great improvement in reducing its crimes in recent years, expressing his sympathies for the victims and his support for their families to overcome the aftermath of these crimes.

Koman stressed that the Council of Arab Interior Ministers has taken special measures to raise awareness about the pain of victims of terrorist acts, including the development of media programs to raise security awareness and improve citizens’ contribution to countering terrorist acts in implementation of the Arab counter-terrorism strategy. This was in addition to assigning the Arab bureau for security-related information activities, which operates under the General Secretariat of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers, to prepare media programs and materials to raise awareness about the dangers of terrorist acts and the suffering they cause.

He highlighted that the council’s efforts go beyond raising awareness to taking concrete measures to support the victims of terrorist acts, including members of the Arab security services and their families.

Koman said that these efforts include the establishment of an Arab security solidarity fund to cover the expenses of medical, social, and psychological support for Arab police and security personnel and their families, in addition to the development of a model for the organizational structure of a department in the security services specializing in psychological counseling.

“The department will be operated by social workers and psychologists who have the capacity to help victims overcome the pain and tragedy of terrorism,” he said.

Koman praised the efforts of Arab countries in assisting the victims of terrorist acts and alleviating their suffering, including providing financial and moral support and providing them with treatment and privileges, such as monthly wages, scholarships for their families and medals of honors to their martyrs.

He urged public and civil society institutions to develop awareness-raising efforts through holding seminars and organizing events to remember the suffering of the victims and provide them with social, psychological and financial support.

Koman concluded by saying a prayer for the victims harmed by terrorist acts and members of the security services who died foiling terrorist crimes and fighting terrorists.