Saudi Arabia hosts 895,175 Yemeni, Syrian refugees as guests: KSRelief chief

Abdullah Al-Rabeeah Head of the Saudi Arabia delegation attends the High-level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, at the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, in this April 25, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 07 May 2017

Saudi Arabia hosts 895,175 Yemeni, Syrian refugees as guests: KSRelief chief

OTTAWA: Royal Court Adviser and General Supervisor of the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief) Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, underscored the Kingdom’s leading role in humanitarian work and its commitment to the international humanitarian law, which corresponds to the teachings of Islam that call for the preservation of human dignity and sparing mankind suffering.
Al-Rabeeah who is visiting the province of Ottawa made his remarks in the presence of Saudi Ambassador to Canada Naif bin Bandar Al-Sudairi and a group of Canadian journalists whom he briefed on KSRelief’s vision and message, stressing its commitment to international law and collaboration with the UN and other global humanitarian organizations.
He said the Kingdom has been showing utmost concern for the humanitarian situation in Yemen, sending aid to all Yemeni provinces, including areas controlled by the Houthi militia, through KSRelief programs.
KSRelief carried out 127 projects in Yemen providing relief and humanitarian aid, as well as shelter, in addition to agricultural and water programs, Al-Rabeeah said.
KSRelief was able to reach everywhere in Yemen through 81 international and local partners; its programs place special emphasis on children and women projects, he said.
Al-Rabeeah said Saudi Arabia received 603,833 Yemeni refugees with their families who are allowed to move freely and work.
Beyond its borders, the Kingdom offered support to Yemeni refugees in Djibouti and Somalia, he added.
At the same time, the Kingdom, he said, was among the first countries to give support to the Syrian people, of whom it welcomed 291,342 as refugees, allowing them to live in the Kingdom as guests.
Thousands of them work and 114,000 Syrian students are enrolled in government schools. At the same time, similar support is given by the Kingdom to millions of refugees in neighboring countries, he added.
Al-Rabeeah also stressed the Kingdom’s concern over the humanitarian situations in Iraq, Somalia and other disaster-hit countries.
Through KSRelief, the Kingdom has so far provided $700 million worth of aid to 37 countries, he said.
He also spoke about the difficulty of delivering aid through Al-Hudeidah port in Yemen, in view of the fact that the fell under the control of Houthis who seize aid, depriving the Yemeni people of their simplest rights for political ends.
Al-Rabeeah also talked about the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 that aim at building a strong economy and creating job opportunities, and encourage humanitarian and voluntary work.
He stressed that the Arab Coalition forces facing terrorism is performing its role in response to the call of the Yemeni people and in line with the outcome of the national dialogue, UN resolutions and GCC initiative.

US ambassador to Saudi Arabia advises American community to shelter in the Kingdom during coronavirus

Updated 13 min 26 sec ago

US ambassador to Saudi Arabia advises American community to shelter in the Kingdom during coronavirus

  • John Abizaid published video message addressed to the American community
  • He says food supplies, health care and emergency services are all good in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The US ambassador to Riyadh advised the American community in Saudi Arabia to “shelter in place,” instead of returning to the US amid the present crisis.

“Food supply is good, emergency services are sound, medical system is functioning,” said the US envoy John Abizaid on a video message addressed towards the American community.

He advised those who are adamant on returning to research and study the local situation as communities have been disrupted and many quarantine areas have sprung up.



“It’s very concerning to see how things are going there (in the US), but on the other hand I’ve got great confidence in our ability to weather the storm, not only there but here.”

He hailed the efforts made by the Kingdom to protect against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and said: “They took action early, they stopped the movement of people into the Kingdom, they shut down the air corridors, land corridors, you name it. Of course it makes us all feel isolated, but on the other hand it is also clear to me that it makes us safer.”

Abizaid described the Kingdom’s preventive measures as “ahead of the problem,” but that did not mean the situation could not spiral for the worst.

“There are about over 1,500 cases in the Kingdom right now and it is continuing to rise, but not at a rate like we’ve seen in the States or Italy or Spain or elsewhere.”

The ambassador and everyone at the embassy are social-distancing and working electronically. He said that none of the embassy staff had COVID-19.

He has reassured Americans that the embassy has a Center For Disease Control representative who has been talking to Saudis and the health ministry, saying that the Kingdom is doing a good job.

“My relationship with the Saudi security services has been exceptional,” he said, adding: “Good cooperation, we all have the same goal in mind, which is to keep the virus from spreading, to ensure that our medical professionals in the Kingdom can practice without being overcrowded or overworked.”