Envoy thanks King Salman for additional $160m aid for Maldives

An aerial view of one of the islands that comprise the Maldives in the Indian Ocean is shown in this file picture. Saudi Arabia has granted a new $160 million facility for projects in the Maldives. (AFP)
Updated 17 February 2018

Envoy thanks King Salman for additional $160m aid for Maldives

RIYADH: The ambassador of the crisis-hit Maldives thanked Saudi Arabia on Saturday for the grant of a new $160 million facility for projects in the Indian Ocean island republic.

“I thank King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi people for the new financing facility. King Salman has always pledged support for development in the Maldives,” Abdullah Hameed told Arab News.

The Maldivian envoy said that the amount is in addition to $100 million for airport development and the $80 million development of Hulhumale city, pledges made earlier by the Kingdom.

According to a communication from the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), the new financial facility is from the Kingdom and the UAE for the expansion of airports and fisheries.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the government of the UAE are following up on the current events in the Republic of Maldives,” the SFD communication said.

It added that the two countries “express their concern about all the disturbing security and stability in the Maldives and note that these events are an internal matter.”

Hameed added that Saudi Arabia and the UAE expressed “hope for peaceful solutions through internal political dialogue between the parties concerned without external interference and within the framework of the Maldivian Constitution.”

This comes after an earlier government invitation to all political parties, calling for constructive dialogue about the country’s political situation.

Hameed said the state of emergency in the Maldives lasts for only 15 days under the island republic’s constitution unless the Maldivian parliament extends it. He added that the emergency ends on Wednesday.

“Under the constitution and in case of emergency, the president is vested with power to ensure stability to ensure the rule of law and uphold the constitution,” the ambassador said.


Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

Updated 17 min 21 sec ago

Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

  • The Kingdom has gained experience in dealing with millions of peoples, says crowd expert

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has announced its readiness to deal with any epidemic cases. It said that it will provide all necessary information to pilgrims and has doubled cleaning times of the courtyards and corridors of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The presidency said that it is raising media awareness in all languages and through informative screens to distribute the latest medical instructions and emergency developments.

Abdulhamid Al-Maliki, assistant undersecretary for services affairs at the presidency, told Arab News that the Two Holy Mosques are collaborating with public health authorities to face all possible situations.

Al-Maliki said that he has been working hand-in-hand with governmental and private agencies to distribute masks and hand sanitizer.

FASTFACTS

Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.

Since the new coronavirus emerged in December in central China, it has sickened 82,000 people globally, with more than 2,700 deaths.

He added that coordination has been made with public health-related bodies to mobilize the necessary media coverage to inform all pilgrims of different nationalities wherever they may be.

The assistant undersecretary said that responding to all instructions and advice is necessary for the best handling of health issues.

Crowd expert Akram Jan said that Saudi Arabia has gained experience in dealing with crowds and millions of people, and that it was prepared to handle several sudden scenarios as well as the most difficult situations with success.

Jan said that the difficulties that accompany the presence of viruses — such as the new coronavirus — are their ability to spread and infect through contact or sneezing. He added that the Kingdom is taking precautionary measures to prevent a disaster from happening.

 

Disinfection

The floors of Makkah’s Grand Mosque are washed and disinfected four times daily as part of measures to ensure the safety of pilgrims and visitors.

Highly qualified cadres use the best technology and cleaning and sanitizing tools, said Jaber Widaani, director of the mosque’s department of disinfection and carpets. 

There are 13,500 prayer rugs at the mosque, all of which are swept and fragranced on a daily basis, he added.

Since the new coronavirus emerged in December 2019 in central China, it has sickened 82,000 people globally, with more than 2,700 deaths. The illness it causes was named COVID-19, a reference to its origin late last year.

Middle East countries have been implementing measures to protect their citizens and residents from the rising coronavirus cases.

On Thursday, Dubai’s Emirates announced a temporary ban on carrying Umrah pilgrims and tourists from nearly two dozen countries to Saudi Arabia.

The announcement came after the Kingdom placed a temporary ban on pilgrims from entering the country to perform Umrah, in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.