Saudi Arabia among largest global donors of aid: UN report

Workers unload aid from a Saudi air force cargo plane at an airfield in Yemen’s central province of Marib. (AFP/File)
Updated 03 October 2018

Saudi Arabia among largest global donors of aid: UN report

  • FTS said that Saudi Arabia had assisted and supported refugees with humanitarian relief and development assistance.
  • The Kingdom provided Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and Malaysia with assistance amounting to $18.1 million

The UN Financial Tracking Service (FTS) has revealed that Saudi Arabia is ranked fourth among major world donors of humanitarian aid.

 

In its Sept. 2018 report, the FTS said that Saudi Arabia had assisted and supported refugees with humanitarian relief and development assistance.

Dr. Aqeel Al-Ghamdi, assistant general supervisor for planning and development at the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Relief and Works (KSRelief), mentioned Saudi aid to countries during a speech at the UN. He said that the Kingdom provided Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and Malaysia with assistance amounting to $18.1 million.

Al-Ghamdi said that 13 projects were also implemented for internally displaced persons in Myanmar through the International Organization for Migration (IOM), adding that Saudi Arabia has provided Syrian refugees in Jordan with aid worth $178.3 million, in Turkey worth $88.7 million, in Lebanon worth $95.7 million, and to refugees in countries such as Iraq, Egypt and others, worth $219.6 million with 198 humanitarian projects.

Aid worth $203.3 million was given to Jordan as a host of refugees, he said. The Kingdom provided $500 million to support the UN Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen in 2018; of this amount $31 million was allocated to the UNHCR and $23.3 million to the IOM to provide assistance to internally displaced refugees and internally displaced persons.

The contribution of Saudi Arabia to Yemen since the beginning of the crisis in 2015, in humanitarian assistance, development and relief for the Yemeni people, amounted to $11.18 billion.

For Palestine, the Kingdom has been one of the largest donors, since 2000 until 2018, providing development, humanitarian and charitable assistance amounting to $5.55 billion.

In Somalia, Al-Ghamdi said that the Kingdom provided $177.3 million in assistance, carrying out 29 projects and providing $10 million to the UNHCR and IOM to repatriate Somali refugees from Yemen, and helping them to resettle when they returned.

The Kingdom had also allocated $10 million for projects in Nigeria, where urgent humanitarian and relief projects were being implemented for displaced people, he said.

In Pakistan, the Kingdom provided assistance amounting to $107.3 million, implemented for 85 projects for displaced people affected by floods and earthquakes between 2005 and 2018.

In Afghanistan, the Kingdom provided assistance to 32 projects for displaced people worth $22.8 million.

Al-Ghamdi noted that the Kingdom has hosted 1.07 million refugees (563,911 of whom were Yemenis, 262,573 Syrians and 249,669 Burmese), representing 5.26 percent of the total number of Saudi residents.

In the Kingdom, these refugees exercised the right to residence, mobility and had access to education, health and work, on an equal footing with Saudi citizens.

The Kingdom is working on a comprehensive database using internationally recognized standards that will soon be launched to record and monitor refugee data within Saudi Arabia. The humanitarian and relief work of the Kingdom covered 40 countries, he said.


Saudi gamers lead the way at Nexus e-sports festival

Updated 4 min 14 sec ago

Saudi gamers lead the way at Nexus e-sports festival

  • The 3-day festival ended with a spectacular performance by R&B singer Jason Derulo
  • The festival aims to promote electronic sports in the region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s EGZ was crowned champions in the main competition as American R&B star Jason Derulo ended the three-day Nexus gaming festival with a spectacular performance in Riyadh on Saturday.
The festival, an initiative of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA), was the first to be staged by Riot Games in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as part of its strategy to promote electronic sports in the region.
Hundreds of people gathered at Riyadh Boulevard to witness the finals of the six competitions based on the League of Legends, and to enjoy a variety of activities and attractions.
EGZ won $400,000 as part of the total $2 million prize fund after defeating Nasr Esports in the main 5v5 Summoners Rift competition.
Coach Paul Ouani said that the festival was a great learning experience for his team and he hopes Riot Games can build on this success.
“Having the Nexus festival here is a great decision. There is enormous potential in e-sports, especially in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. With many people watching online and live at venues, it will only get bigger,” he said
Other winners included Bassel (5v5 influencer final) and Abdulrahman Toxichill Bahmaid (1v1 champion).
As well as promoting gaming, the three-day festival also featured a music concert by US line-ups Mako and the Crystal Method, and a variety of entertainment.
Onur Tamer, METAI general manager of Riot Games, said: “As the first event on this scale for the region, it was a fantastic effort by the whole team. We have delivered something that the community has been expecting for a long time and it was great to see strong turnout during the three days.
“Attracting people of different ages is crucial in this region and we wanted to focus on three pillars — the gaming tournament, the festival area where the players would interact, and the musical experiences. We delivered that and everything was great, especially the cosplay, where a lot of people were interested.
“It is not just about gaming but going beyond that and opening League of Legends and e-sports to all people in this region,” he said.
“This event has shown that a lot of people have embraced the opportunity of visiting and learning more about League of Legends.”
Tamer said that future plans include an Arabic version of League of Legends.
“People want us to create a specific Arabic character, but it really depends on the creativity and bringing everything together to make it happen,” he said.