KSRelief continues relief efforts in Hodeidah, Yemen

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King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) continues its relentless humanitarian efforts to relieve the suffering of the Yemeni people in Hodeidah. (SPA)
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King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) continues its relentless humanitarian efforts to relieve the suffering of the Yemeni people in Hodeidah. (SPA)
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King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) continues its relentless humanitarian efforts to relieve the suffering of the Yemeni people in Hodeidah. (SPA)
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King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) continues its relentless humanitarian efforts to relieve the suffering of the Yemeni people in Hodeidah. (SPA)
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King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) continues its relentless humanitarian efforts to relieve the suffering of the Yemeni people in Hodeidah. (SPA)
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King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) continues its relentless humanitarian efforts to relieve the suffering of the Yemeni people in Hodeidah. (SPA)
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King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) launched a sewing course for the families of orphans as part of its ‘handcrafts’ project that the center is running in five provinces in Yemen. (SPA)
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King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) launched a sewing course for the families of orphans as part of its 'handcrafts' project that the center is running in five provinces in Yemen. (SPA)
Updated 09 September 2018

KSRelief continues relief efforts in Hodeidah, Yemen

JEDDAH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) is continuing its relentless humanitarian efforts to relieve the suffering of the Yemeni people in Hodeidah, affected by the humanitarian crisis caused by the Houthi militia.
During the period from Jun. 15 till Sept. 4, the center provided a number of services to citizens and those displaced, through its various relief and humanitarian programs.
The programs consisted of 11,279 food baskets that benefited 67,674 individuals, 21,621 kilograms of dates that reached 129,726 people.
The center also distributed various accommodation materials, including 70 tents that aided 420 people, 1,620 blankets that were distributed to 1,620 people, and 140 rugs that benefited 420 people.
Over the past few months, the center also distributed 1,050 bags containing basic materials that helped 7,350 people, and 2,687 bags containing emergency items that benefiting 18.809 thousand individuals.;
The center announced that a total of 227,349 affected or displaced Yemenis from Hodeidah benefited from the aid.
The center is currently working on a project to improve water supply and environmental sanitation and nutrition and to set up mobile clinics to provide health care to the people of the governorate.
Yemen in general and the areas most in need in coordination with the offices of the United Nations humanitarian organizations and international organizations and the Yemeni government represented by the High Committee for Relief, and continuation of the humanitarian role carried out by the Kingdom through the Center for all governorates of Yemen without discrimination.
The projects fall in line with the directives of Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to direct aid to Yemen, particularly the areas most in need, in coordination with UN humanitarian bodies, international organizations and the Yemeni government, represented by the High Committee for Relief, to continue the Kingdom’s humanitarian role in indiscriminately aiding the Yemeni people via the center.
In addition to the Hodeidah projects, KSRelief has launched a sewing course for the families of orphans as part of its “handcrafts” project that the center is running in five provinces in Yemen.
Trainee Zeinab Omar was delighted with the training that the sewing course provided and said: “We did not have experience of using sewing machines but this course taught us a number of skills in this field.”
Another trainee, Huda Ahmed, pointed out that the course will benefit a number of trainees who will learn new skills, and these skills will help them to be independent in the future.
One of the course’s trainers, Samiha Ali, said there is a lot of interaction among trainees and they compete to learn basic skills.
She added that the trainees are very creative and eager to learn about the various stages of sewing such as cutting and tailoring and hemming garments.


Saudi pursuit of ‘green Kingdom’ goal gets a boost

Updated 18 November 2019

Saudi pursuit of ‘green Kingdom’ goal gets a boost

  • Agreement between agriculture ministry and Dubai's ICBA aimed at conserving natural resources
  • Kingdom's biosaline agriculture research and systems stands to benefit from ICBA's expertise

DUBAI: Agricultural development and environmental sustainability in Saudi Arabia will receive a boost in the coming years, thanks to a new agreement between the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) in Dubai and the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.

The agreement aims to enable Saudi Arabia to achieve its goal of preservation and sustainable management of its natural resources by raising the quality of biosaline agriculture research and systems.

The ministry says that the agreement will make use of the ICBA’s expertise in capacity development besides agricultural and environmental research, especially in the fields of vegetation development, combating desertification and climate change adaptation.

“It also includes training programs for Saudi technicians and farmers,” the ministry said. “In addition, it will localize, implement and develop biosaline agriculture research and production systems for both crops and forestation, which contributes to environmental and agricultural integration.”

Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, the ICBA’s director general, told Arab News: “The agreement had been in the making for about two years. That was when we were approached by the Saudi government.”

Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, ICBA Director General, at the center's Quinoa fields in Dubai. (Supplied photo)

She said: “We put forward a proposal to demonstrate how the ICBA can help the Saudi government to implement its Green Kingdom Initiative, through which the ministry is trying to restore green coverage in the country and revive old conservation practices.”

Geographical features and climatic conditions very greatly from one part of the country to the other.

In the past, experimentation with such crops as potatoes, wheat and alfalfa proved detrimental to the Kingdom’s environment and natural resources due to faster rates of groundwater withdrawal.

“The ministry wanted to put a halt to over-abstraction of water, so they went through different policies,” Elouafi said.

“They made sure, for example, that farmers stopped producing wheat because about 2,400 liters of water is consumed to produce 1 kg of wheat. It was a huge amount,” she added.

“The new strategy is to find more appropriate crops for the farming community, which is quite large in the Kingdom.”

Saudi Arabia has been trying to grow its own food on a large scale since the 1980s. 

The objective of the Green Kingdom Initiative is to reduce the agricultural sector’s water demand by finding alternatives to thirsty crops.

The agreement will require the ICBA, over the next five years, to build for Saudi Arabia a new biosaline agriculture sector. 

As part of this shift, cultivation of a number of crops, notably quinoa, pearl millet and sorghum, will be piloted in high-salinity regions and then scaled up.

“The crops did very well in the UAE,” Elouafi said. “We’re looking at Sabkha regions, which have very high salinity and wetlands, and are on the ministry’s environmental agenda.”

Another objective is “smart” agriculture, which will involve raising water productivity, controlling irrigation water consumption and changing farming behavior.

Elouafi said that getting farmers in the Kingdom to stop cultivating wheat took some time as they had become accustomed to heavy government subsidies. In 2015, wheat production was phased out, followed by potatoes a year later and then alfalfa. 

“Farmers were provided everything to the point where they got used to a very good income and a very easy system,” she said.

“Now farmers are being asked to start producing something else, but the income won’t be the same, so it’s very important at this stage that the ministry has a plan and it’s fully understood.”

The agreement envisages preparation of proposals for ministry projects that involve plant production, drought monitoring, development of promising local crop and forestation varieties, and conservation of plant genetic resources.

“We’re also discussing capacity building because the ministry is big and has many entities. Because Saudi Arabia is a large country and has the capacity to meet some of its food requirements internally, what’s required is a better understanding of the country’s natural capabilities in terms of production of the crops it needs, like certain cereals,” Elouafi said.

“The way the authorities are going about it right now is more organized and more holistic. They’re trying to plan it properly.”

Elouafi said that having a better understanding of Saudi Arabia’s water constraints and managing the precious resource is essential.

 

Although almost the entire country is arid, there is rainfall in the north and along the mountain range to the west, especially in the far southwest, which receives monsoon rains in summer.

 

Sporadic rain may also occur elsewhere. Sometimes it is very heavy, causing serious flooding, including in Riyadh.

“They (the government) are very interested in drought management systems. The Kingdom has a long history of agriculture,” Elouafi said.

“It has large quantities of water in terms of rainfall, and certain regions have mountainous conditions, which are conducive to agriculture.”

Clearly, preservation of water resources is a priority for the Saudi government. But no less urgent is the task of conversion of green waste to improve soil quality, increase soil productivity and water retention, and reduce demand for irrigation.

The Kingdom is one of at least three Gulf Cooperation Council countries that are taking steps to develop a regulatory framework for the recycling of waste into compost.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman are respectively aiming to recycle 85 percent, 75 percent and 60 percent of their municipal solid waste over the next decade, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) entitled “Global Food Trends to 2030.”

Saudi Arabia and the UAE rank in the bottom quartile of the 34 countries covered by the EIU’s Food Sustainability Index, with low scores for nutrition and food loss and waste. 

The answer, according to many farmers, policymakers and food-industry experts, is a shift toward more sustainable management of each country’s natural resources.