Saudi Arabia, UAE launch drive to support flood-hit Iranians

The Saudi Red Crescent Society and the UAE Red Crescent Authority are currently considering mechanisms to activate this initiative and to contribute positively to reducing the impact of floods in the affected areas. (AFP)
Updated 12 April 2019
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Saudi Arabia, UAE launch drive to support flood-hit Iranians

RIYADH: Humanitarian aid organizations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE have joined forces to help thousands of Iranians hit by devastating floods.

The Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA) and Emirates Red Crescent (RCUAE) on Friday launched a major relief initiative after recent deluges left around 80 people dead and forced more than 80,000 residents to flee their homes.

In a joint statement, the two agencies said they were drawing up plans to channel aid to the worst-affected areas in a bid to ease the suffering of the Kingdom’s and the UAE’s “Iranian brothers.”

Iranian authorities on Wednesday ordered tens of thousands of people to leave their homes as floodwaters poured into the southwest city of Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan province.

Gholamreza Shariati, provincial governor, pleaded for young men to volunteer to “help us in building dykes and to assist in the evacuation of women, children and the elderly.”

Nearly 80 people are known to have died in the past three weeks in torrents, described as the worst since the 1940s, which have swamped about 1,900 cities and villages in 20 of Iran’s 31 provinces.

The northeast of Iran was first to be hit by floods on March 19 before the west and southwest were inundated on March 25. On April 1, the west and southwest were again engulfed after heavy rain returned.

The huge inflows have forced authorities to release large volumes of water from Khuzestan’s largest dams, which is now threatening some cities downstream, including the Ahvaz region, where 1.3 million people live.

The disaster has left aid agencies struggling to cope and seen 86,000 people moved to emergency shelters.

The Iranian government has told its citizens, especially flood-affected farmers, that all losses will be compensated.


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.