KSRelief highlights humanitarian aid efforts in Yemen despite Houthi obstructions

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KSRelief chief Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah speaks at a symposium in Rome, Italy, on Saudi Arabia's humanitarian aid efforts in Yemen. (SPA)
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KSRelief chief volunteers distributing humanitarian relief aid in a village in Saada, Yemen. (SPA)
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Yemeni residents bringing home their share of humanitarian aid distributed by KSRelief volunteers in Saada province. (SPA)
Updated 25 October 2019

KSRelief highlights humanitarian aid efforts in Yemen despite Houthi obstructions

ROME: Saudi Arabia is keen to provide humanitarian aid transparently and impartially throughout Yemen, despite all the difficulties posed by violations by Iran-backed Houthi militias, said the general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief).
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah was speaking at a symposium in Rome attended by Prince Faisal bin Sattam bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi ambassador to Italy.
The symposium, titled “Saudi humanitarian efforts in Yemen: Challenges and solutions,” was organized by KSRelief in coordination with the Saudi Embassy in Rome.
Al-Rabeeah explained during a video presentation that total Saudi assistance to Yemen since May 2015 amounted to $16 billion.
He said the Kingdom has responded to an appeal by the World Health Organization and UNICEF with $66.7 million to combat a cholera outbreak in Yemen.
He added that the Kingdom is supporting specific important KSRelief projects in Yemen, such as the Masam demining project. Al-Rabeeah also detailed Houthi violations of humanitarian work in Yemen.
Meanwhile in Amman, KSRelief participated in a workshop on the strategies and policies of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for 2020, in cooperation with the Jordanian Red Crescent. Participants discussed ways to cooperate.
The director of KSRelief’s office in Jordan, Dr. Bader Al-Samhan, highlighted Saudi humanitarian support worldwide.

 


Turning a new leaf: Saudi Arabia’s Jazan region ditches qat crops for coffee trees

The growth of the educational landscape in the region, in addition to the success of the coffee industry, are some factors that help the authorities combat qat abuse. (SPA/Supplied)
Updated 24 February 2020

Turning a new leaf: Saudi Arabia’s Jazan region ditches qat crops for coffee trees

  • The Khawlani coffee bean is being offered to UNESCO for inclusion on a heritage list

JAZAN: Efforts to draw the younger generation in the Kingdom’s Jazan region away from the harmful and addictive substance qat are succeeding, with even the crop being replaced by coffee trees to support the booming coffee business.
Qat, a plant that is native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, is a stimulant that triggers excitement and alertness. But it can also cause anxiety, insomnia and aggravate pre-existing mental health conditions.
It grew in the Jazan region along with coffee trees. But the strength of the coffee industry, combined with an increased awareness about the harmful nature of qat, has led to its gradual disappearance.
The governor of Al-Dayer, Nayef bin Lebdah, said the people of Jazan were proud of the Khawlani coffee bean. He also said that coffee beans were much more economically beneficial than qat.
“All newly planted qat trees have been completely uprooted,” he told Arab News. “All the people have found that planting coffee beans is much more feasible and rewarding than qat. Attempts to smuggle qat have also dropped thanks to the security efforts along the border with Yemen. Add to that, young people themselves have concluded that their future will be in coffee beans.”
Teacher Yahiya Shareef Al-Maliki viewed qat as an “intruder’’ and said the coffee tree was the region’s indigenous product.
“In 1970, there were only four people who used to chew qat in the entire governorate,” he told Arab News. “It then started to become common among the people here in 1995 due to opening the borders that caused importing qat from abroad.”

FASTFACTS

• In 2014, people reconsidered coffee as an alternative crop and young people started to grow coffee beans with the help of unlimited support from the governorate.

• Some 50,000 seedlings were distributed and farmers began to restore the profession of their fathers.

• The governorate replanted more than 10,000 genuine Khawlani coffee seedlings and gave them to the farmers.

The increase in qat cultivation affected the planting of coffee beans, he added, but in 2014 people reconsidered coffee as an alternative crop and young people started to grow coffee beans with the help of unlimited support from the governorate. “Some 50,000 seedlings were distributed and farmers began to restore the profession of their fathers.”
People in Jazan used to waste their time and money on qat, he said. They would gather and chew qat for many hours, he added, hours that could have been spent working. But the growth of the educational landscape in the region, in addition to the success of the coffee industry, was a factor in combating qat abuse, as young people were able to access more opportunities and improve their prospects.
The Khawlani coffee bean is being offered to UNESCO for inclusion on a heritage list.
“The preparation of the file related to the skills and knowledge pertaining to the cultivation of Khawlani coffee in the Jazan region has been completed before presenting it to UNESCO,” the Kingdom’s Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah said. If listed, he added, it would be the Kingdom’s fourth intangible cultural heritage and eighth among the total heritage items included in the UNESCO heritage list.
Saudi columnist Hamood Abu Talib said the Jazan region was the only place the beans were grown. “This festival (Coffee Beans Festival), which is being held in collaboration with the governorate (of Jazan), the farmers themselves and Aramco, is an important national economic investment,” he told Arab News.
“Many countries’ economies, such as Brazil and Ethiopia depend mainly on this product — coffee. It needs professional marketing through the media to attract visitors from inside and outside the Kingdom. This is an essential strategic transformation.
“We know that the Faifa Mountains Development and Reconstruction Authority’s strategic goal was to uproot the harmful trees of qat and replace them with profitable crops that are beneficial to the farmers as well as the whole region. These were also intruding, invasive trees. We replanted more than 10,000 genuine Khawlani coffee seedlings and gave them to the farmers.”