Half KSRelief’s 700 aid projects focus on Yemen

328 humanitarian projects in Yemen. (SPA)
Updated 14 March 2019

Half KSRelief’s 700 aid projects focus on Yemen

  • More than 6 million Yemeni children are facing a humanitarian crisis due to Houthi violations, Al-Moallem said

GENEVA: Almost half of the 700 international aid projects run by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center are focused on Yemen, the Geneva Press Club was told.

Dr. Abdullah bin Saleh Al-Moallem, director of KSRelief’s Department of Medical and Environmental Assistance, told a press conference that 328 humanitarian projects in Yemen related to health, food security, water sanitation, housing, education and communication.

Al-Moallem was speaking at an exhibition at the press club that highlights Saudi efforts to help Yemeni children. 

Former Yemeni ambassador to the UN Ibrahim Al-Adoufi and other Arab envoys to the UN were also present. 

More than 6 million Yemeni children are facing a humanitarian crisis due to Houthi violations, Al-Moallem said. 

KSRelief programs included an initiative to rehabilitate child soldiers recruited by the Houthis. Psychological, social and educational programs run by specialists help the soldiers reintegrate into society. 

Al-Moallem said that children are most vulnerable to Houthi forced recruitment in contradiction to international law and treaties. 

He urged the international community to stand firm against Houthi violations, especially against children.


New Saudi rules on hookah leave businesses, consumers confused

Arab News visited different restaurants in the town and found a few serving hookahs. (AP/File)
Updated 21 sec ago

New Saudi rules on hookah leave businesses, consumers confused

  • Manal Jafar: Everywhere in our city is polluted with smoke, you can hardly find a restaurant where you can safely take your kids

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Rural and Municipal Affairs has imposed new regulations on restaurants and cafes serving hookah. Although many were disappointed following the announcement to allow hookah inside cities, businesses were shocked to know about the fees imposed on them. Nonsmokers have also raised their concerns after they realized that bills will rise by 100 percent if they visit a restaurant that serves hookah.
Arab News visited different restaurants in the town and found a few serving hookahs. Some said that they will still serve it, but will not charge customers any extra fees.
Meanwhile, a trending hashtag in Saudi Arabia addressed the issue of fees on tobacco, with some customers sharing their bills online.
Michel Abou Assaly, director of operations at Shababik Restaurant in Jeddah, said that when they first found out about the new law they were surprised: “We were obliged to stop serving hookah and we had to send all our employees at the shisha department on a short leave until things became clearer.” He added they did not want their customers to pay double the price for the same product. He anticipates a 40 percent drop in sales.
“Thousands of restaurants and cafes will close down and at least 100,000 families will be affected,” Assaly said. He added that investors should ask the ministry to reconsider this law.
Halima Muthaffar, a writer, said that although she hates the smell of tobacco, she still sees this as an unfair decision. She added that it is not the right time, especially as Saudi Arabia is opening up for tourists.
Columnist Gassan Badkook said that the authorities will reconsider the way these fees are being calculated. He said that three groups will be negatively affected: Nonsmokers, who will have to pay fees for a product they do not use, investors who might close their businesses and employees who might lose their jobs.
Manal Jafar said she agrees with the fees: “A restaurant should serve food only. Everywhere in our city is polluted with smoke, you can hardly find a restaurant where you can safely take your kids.”
Mohammad bin Hamad said he rarely goes to a restaurant with his family, but they never ask for hookah. “Why should I pay 100 percent fees on top of my bill? We should wait for a few months, many restaurants will stop offering hookah because they will lose so many customers.”