Saudi Arabia and UAE agree to fight disease, malnutrition in Yemen at high-level WHO meeting in Riyadh

The agreements were signed with UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) during a high-level meeting in Riyadh, which UN relief chief Mark Lowcock in attendance. (SPA)
Updated 22 May 2019

Saudi Arabia and UAE agree to fight disease, malnutrition in Yemen at high-level WHO meeting in Riyadh

  • Yemen wracked by cholera outbreak
  • Country is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Wednesday signed agreements to combat disease and malnutrition in Yemen, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The agreements were signed with UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) during a high-level meeting in Riyadh that was attended by the General Supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center and adviser to the Royal Court Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Maalami, and the UAE Minister of State for International cooperation Reem Al-Hashimy as well as the UN’s relief chief Mark Lowcock.
The first agreement is about controlling a cholera outbreak in Yemen in cooperation with the WHO as part of an initiative to support relief and humanitarian projects with $20 million, directly benefiting more than a million people and indirectly aiding more than 18 million.
As of May 10 more than 306,000 suspected cases had been reported across the country, according to UNICEF, two years after the country was gripped by the world’s largest cholera outbreak.
An estimated 16 million people in Yemen, more than half of them children, lack adequate access to water, sanitation and hygiene services, UNICEF added.
The second agreement will address acute malnutrition in high-risk areas in cooperation with UNICEF. The project has a total value of $40 million and will benefit 1.4 million people.
The agreement also aims to treat 50,000 Yemeni children under the age of five who are suffering from acute malnutrition, promote infant and young child feeding practices and monitor their growth, provide health counseling to the local community, health facilities and 400,000 mothers, provide micronutrient supplements to 800,000 children under the age of five, and detect malnutrition in a million children.
Yemen is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. More than 24 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 12 million children.
Around 360,000 children under five were suffering from severe acute malnutrition and require treatment, UNICEF said in March.
The Riyadh meeting discussed the humanitarian situation in Yemen and reviewed matters related to the Saudi and Emirati grant for 2018.
In a press conference after the meeting, the Lowcock thanked Saudi Arabia and the UAE for their humanitarian support and relief work in Yemen.
Lowcock, who is the UN’s under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said the two countries offered around $1 billion at a UN pledging conference in Geneva in February.
“Heavier trucks, including those carrying food aid, now take more than 60 hours to travel between Sana’a and Aden — that is about four times as long as used to be the case. In February and March, more than 900,000 people were affected by delays or interruptions in assistance,” he told the Council.


Fraud alert over cryptocurrency falsely linked to Saudi Arabia

Updated 21 August 2019

Fraud alert over cryptocurrency falsely linked to Saudi Arabia

  • The website of a cryptocurrency company is promoting what it calls the CryptoRiyal and SmartRiyal
  • The Singapore-based company uses the Saudi emblem of two crossed swords and a palm tree

JEDDAH: Fraudsters are trying to lure victims into investing in a “virtual currency” with false claims that it is linked to the Saudi riyal and will be used to finance key projects, the Saudi Ministry of Finance warned on Tuesday.

The website of a cryptocurrency company in Singapore is promoting what it calls the CryptoRiyal and SmartRiyal, using the Saudi emblem of two crossed swords and a palm tree. Its “ultimate goal” is to finance NEOM, the smart city and tourist destination being built in the north of the Kingdom, the company claims.

“Any use of the KSA name, national currency or national emblem by any entity for virtual or digital currencies marketing will be subject to legal action by the competent authorities in the Kingdom,” the ministry said on Tuesday.

The fraudsters were exploiting ignorance of how virtual currencies work, cryptocurrency expert Dr. Assad Rizq told Arab News.

“A lot of tricks can be played,” he said. “Some of these companies are not regulated, they have no assets, and even their prospectus is sometimes copied from other projects.

“They hype and pump their project so the price goes up. Inexpert investors, afraid of missing out, jump in, which spikes the price even higher. Then the owners sell up and make tons of money.

“Cryptocurrencies are a risky investment for two reasons. First, the sector is not yet fully regulated and a lot of projects use fake names and identities, such as countries’ names or flags, to manipulate investors.

“Second, you have to do your homework, learn about the technology. And if you still want to invest, consider your country’s rules and regulations.”