Saudi, S. Korean experts join hands to fight MERS

Updated 16 June 2015

Saudi, S. Korean experts join hands to fight MERS

RIYADH: Health experts from Saudi Arabia and their South Korean counterparts have joined hands to combat the dreaded MERS outbreak in the Far East Asian country, where 16 people have succumbed to the contagion so far.

Five new cases were reported by the Korean Health Ministry on Monday, taking the total to 150, the largest outbreak outside of Saudi Arabia.
Jungho Lee, a senior diplomat and spokesman at the embassy of the Republic of Korea in Riyadh, told Arab News on Monday that Saudi health experts were in Seoul and were working in close coordination with local health workers to fight the disease.
“Having a sophisticated health system, Korea exports medical technologies to the Kingdom and helps in various health care projects. Now, as Saudi Arabia has accumulated solid experience and knowledge in dealing with MERS since its outbreak in June 2012, it is but natural for the Kingdom and the Republic of South Korea to strengthen collaboration in this field,” he said.
Earlier, Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih had offered help to his South Korean counterpart, Moon Hyung-pyo, in the form of Saudi health experts with experience in tackling MERS cases.
The MERS outbreak in South Korea has sparked off international concern and stalled the nation’s economy. According to the Korean ministry of finance, it has resulted in over 100,000 canceled tourist visits.
Jungho said that the Saudi Health Ministry delegation reached Seoul on June 11 and on June 12. “Experts from both the countries held a joint workshop to discuss the outbreak in Korea and the Kingdom, which has recorded the highest number of MERS cases, crossing 1,000 confirmed infections and 454 deaths till Monday.
The first MERS case was reported in South Korea on May 20, when a businessman, who had returned from a tour to the Gulf countries including the Kingdom, testing positive.
Meanwhile, a Korean citizen was hospitalized in Slovakia after being suspected of carrying the MERS virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the MERS outbreak in South Korea, which it described as “large and complex.”


Small spaces, big dreams: UAE foodie turns balcony into farm

Updated 21 September 2020

Small spaces, big dreams: UAE foodie turns balcony into farm

MUMBAI: An organic farm started by Sharjah-based Professor Anu Ranade has become a testbed to examine different plants and how they react to severe weather conditions in the UAE — and the green-fingered faculty member has even taken to feeding friends and neighbors with her home-grown goods.

Ranade has grown and harvested more than 40 varieties of tomatoes, in addition to numerous crops in the community farming area, such as cabbage, ginger, mustard, turmeric and mangoes to name a few.

Her farming story began in 2009, when she started missing her hometown and the joys of gardening due to the lack of outdoor space in her apartment in Ajman.

Sharjah-based Professor's farming story started in 2009. Supplied

Not one to be held back, she set out to find ways to pursue gardening in complex settings and weather conditions. She built a small oasis using containers, trellises, vertical and railing planters and started growing plants such as aloe vera, tomatoes, curry leaves, mint, Indian basil and string beans on her balcony.

After landing a job as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sharjah, she moved to a new apartment in Sharjah with enough balcony space to grow a number of plants.

Not one to be held back, she set out to find ways to pursue gardening in complex settings and weather conditions. Supplied

“I started growing several more kinds of vegetables and fruit on the balcony that even inspired my neighbors and friends. In 2019, I grew eight different varieties of tomatoes in the balcony, which yielded more than 20 kg. What started as a hobby slowly turned into an obsession and inspired me to try my hands-on terrace gardening. Luckily, my husband is also extremely passionate about gardening. Together as a team, we used all the extra space available on the terrace of our apartment above the 21st floor.”

She built a small oasis using containers, trellises, vertical and railing planters. Supplied

They recycled wooden planks, car tires, refrigerator racks and milk cans and created raised beds to grow more than 50 different types of nutritious fruits and veggies, some of which you may not even see in a local grocery store.

Last summer, the Department of Sustainability at the University of Sharjah offered to support her by building a 225 square meter plot in addition to allowing some open space inside the campus for community farming.

The Department of Sustainability at the University of Sharjah offered to support her. Supplied

A small part of the harvest that is unsuitable for consumption always goes to composting, as the couple actively follow a zero food waste at home rule. She has also set up a community composting center at the College of Medicine where she is currently working, “In eight months, I have produced more than 700kg of compost and fed it to my plants. Otherwise, all of this kitchen waste would simply end up in the landfill,” Ranade said.