Cholera epidemic figures in Yemen were exaggerated, says KSRelief

Dr. Samer A. Aljetaily speaks at the press conference in Riyadh on Monday. (AN photo)
Updated 09 January 2018
0

Cholera epidemic figures in Yemen were exaggerated, says KSRelief

RIYADH: The King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid and Relief (KSRelief), which has launched rapid response efforts to contain the cholera outbreak in strife-torn Yemen, said Monday that the extent of the epidemic was exaggerated by a section of media and international organizations.
Addressing a news conference here, KSRelief spokesman Dr. Samer A. Aljetaily told reporters that the cholera outbreak in Yemen had been blown out of proportion by the media.
Speaking to Arab News, Aljetaily said: “I think there is a misconception about the terminology and the definition of the epidemic used in reports. Unfortunately some of the organizations talked about suspected cases as if they are confirmed cases, and there is a big difference between the two.”
He said that some other infections, too, were reported as cholera, which was inappropriate. “There is no criteria for description of the cholera cases inside Yemen. We thought of this actually after consulting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading national public health institute of the United States, that there is manipulation of the data. The data is inaccurate, so the number was exaggerated and the issue blown out of proportion by a section of the media,” he said.
“Some organizations like to draw a very dark picture of what is happening in Yemen,” he underlined. He said a possible reason for exaggerating facts and figures was that “there are some well-known organizations which are against the war, and they have a mission to stop this war to restore the legitimate government in Yemen.”
He added that some organizations want to convey that there is extraordinary humanitarian crisis in Yemen without acknowledging that the rebel militias are not ready to come to the negotiation table for peace.
Earlier, speaking to reporters about the humanitarian work done by KSRelief since its formation in 2015, Aljetaily said the total number of projects worldwide for the center stands at 308 with 119 partners at the value of $967,595,831, while the total number of projects in Yemen stands at 175, implemented in association with 77 partners at the cost of $821,793,142.
During this period, he said, the center provided 7,590 people with relief assistance by air, 2,749 by sea and 880 by the land route; 364,695 people were evacuated from Yemen and they were of 85 nationalities.
On relief works blocked or hampered by Houthi militias during the period, he said 65 relief ships were blocked at Hodeida and Mileif ports, while 567 relief-loaded trucks were stopped from providing assistance to distressed people.
Moreover, 363 relief trucks were confiscated by the Houthis, who also looted 6,315 food baskets meant for civilians, he added.
Commenting on child-related assistance and projects, he said KSRelief implemented 116 projects from 2015 to September 2017 at the cost of $262.5 million. In the first half of 2017, the Houthi militias recruited 568 Yemeni children under the age of 18, and more than 8,000 children since 2015, he said.
KSRelief launched the third phase of its Yemeni children rehabilitation program for those recruited by the Houthis, he said, adding that the program aims to help them integrate into the Yemeni community. Some 2,000 children are targeted in this program, he added.
On health projects, he said KSRelief has funded its maternity and children project in eight Yemeni provinces through 68 centers.


Clean sweep: Marine waste targeted in Red Sea tourism program

The program for eliminating marine debris will play an important material and moral role with the support of the residents of areas surrounding the seafront. (SPA)
Updated 43 min 2 sec ago

Clean sweep: Marine waste targeted in Red Sea tourism program

  • Debris major cause of death for marine life
  • Disintegration of plastic waste threaten human food resources

JEDDAH: A beach cleanup program targeting marine waste has been launched by the Red Sea Development Co. (TRSDC), the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The firm, which is behind the development of a luxury seafront tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, is already developing a range of environment-friendly policies such as zero-waste-to-landfill, zero-discharge-to-the-sea, zero-single-use plastics, and achieving 100 percent carbon neutrality. On Saturday it launched the Marine Debris Beach Clean Up Program as part of the Red Sea Project. “Eliminating marine debris is receiving increasing attention from the media that it has become a global cause, urging us to participate in protecting our virgin environment for which our seafront is known,” said TRSDC CEO John Pagano.
“The program for eliminating marine debris will play an important material and moral role with the support of the residents of areas surrounding the seafront. It will also shed light on the importance of reducing the use of nonrecyclable plastics, in addition to encouraging the disposing of these substances in a safe and sustainable manner.”
The TRSDC will continue to explore ways for recycled materials to be a source of employment opportunities for the area’s residents, he added. 
TRSDC is an official partner of the United Nations’ initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the cleanup program will initially support two SDGs: Life Below Water and Life on Land. It will expand to support other SDGs, including Responsible Consumption and Production, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and the Growth of the Economy, Ending Poverty, and Quality Education.

HIGHLIGHTS

• TRSDC is an official partner of the United Nations’ initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the cleanup program will initially support two SDGs: Life Below Water and Life on Land.

• It will expand to support other SDGs, including Responsible Consumption and Production, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and the Growth of the Economy, Ending Poverty, and Quality Education.

• Institutions or individuals wishing to take part in the beach cleanup program can find more details here: www.act4sdgs.org/partner/TheRedSeaProject

Dr. Rusty Brainard, chief environment officer at TRSDC, said: “Marine debris causes significant damage to the environment and is a major cause of death for many marine organism species, which may ingest these substances. Moreover, the disintegration of plastic waste into small pieces that penetrate into the food web base may also threaten human food resources. Our program for eliminating marine litter is a long-term project that includes ongoing monitoring of environmental health, as well as periodic intervention to clean up any waste in the Red Sea Project.”
TRSDC has teamed up with leading academic institutions in the Kingdom, such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the University of Tabuk, on a number of educational initiatives, added Brainard.
The partnership between TRSDC and KAUST has led to an international competition — “Brains for Brine” — that encourages academics, scientists, engineers and the water industry to find solutions for managing the disposal of brine, which is a waste product of water desalination, in a sustainable and commercially viable way.
KAUST has also helped TRSDC with marine spatial planning for the Red Sea Project.
As part of the planning process, major environmental studies were carried out to ensure that the area’s sensitive ecology was protected both during and after completion of the development.
The final master plan, which preserves around 75 percent of the destination’s islands for conservation and designates nine islands as sites of significant ecological value, required several redesigns to avoid potential disruption to endangered species native to the area.
Institutions or individuals wishing to take part in the beach clean-up program can find more details here: www.act4sdgs.org/partner/TheRedSeaProject