Saudi official’s gesture brings smile on Yemeni child’s face

The winning bid was $10,000.
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Updated 21 May 2020

Saudi official’s gesture brings smile on Yemeni child’s face

  • Handmade ‘goggles’ made by refugee boy bought for $10,000 by MD of Kingdom’s project for landmine clearance in Yemen

MAKKAH: The story of a child in a refugee camp in Yemen who made a pair of spectacles from a metal coat hanger so that he could sell them to buy Eid clothes for his family caught the imagination not only of the Yemeni media but also international humanitarian groups.

When Yemeni photographer and filmmaker, Abdullah Al-Jaradi, heard about the youngster’s creativity, he took up the cause and arranged an online auction to raise as much money as possible. His efforts were widely embraced on social media by international charities.

The winning bid was placed by Ousama Al-Gosaibi, the managing director of the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance in Yemen (Masam).

“The proceeds from the spectacles, which amounts to 2.5 million Yemeni riyals ($10,000), will be allocated to buy clothes not only for the child that made the glasses, but for all the children in the refugee camp,” said Al-Gosaibi. “This comes as part of the Saudi humanitarian efforts in Yemen. “The whole idea began with a competition launched by a journalist on social media. He displayed the glasses and they went on sale for 2 million Yemeni riyals. This initiative aimed to promote the humanitarian efforts and support, meet the needs and lift the spirits of the Yemeni people as Eid approaches, particularly the children.”

A team at Masam, a project launched by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) in June 2018, researched the auction to ensure it was genuine and legal before making the winning bid, he explained.

Journalist Al-Jaradi suggested that representatives from MASAM should document the distribution of aid and clothing to the children and make sure the funds are correctly spent. Work on this is now underway.

Masam is a charitable project that forms part of the humanitarian efforts being made by the Kingdom to aid the Yemeni people and help them rebuild their lives free from the Houthis’ terrorism and oppression.

“The project comes within the framework of the humanitarian projects implemented by Saudi Arabia along with the relief projects in Yemen,” Al-Gosaibi said. He added that the aid provided through the auction is an extension of MASAM’s projects in Yemen, as part of the Kingdom’s role in providing assistance to the country in the form of humanitarian aid, food and relief services.

The situation in Yemen remains very difficult, according to Al-Gosaibi. After working there for almost two and a half years, he said he can see the misery in the eyes of refugees as a result of the actions of the Houthis, including the placing of landmines.

Masam has helped tens of thousands of refugees return to their villages on Yemen’s western coast after clearing the region of mines. Others, however, are still not able to return home.

“The number of refugees in Marib, which was the safest region in Yemen, reached 2 million people,” said Al-Gosaibi. “We helped clear landmines from some of its lands, on which the refugee camps were built. We also cleared villages, orchards and agricultural lands. This allowed tens of thousands of people to return to their homes.”


Saudi Arabia could return to extreme precautionary restrictions, minister warns

Penalties will be doubled upon repetition of the violation. (SPA)
Updated 31 May 2020

Saudi Arabia could return to extreme precautionary restrictions, minister warns

  • People not wearing masks will be fined

JEDDAH: The Kingdom could return to extreme precautionary restrictions if the number of COVID-19 patients exceeds the medical sector’s capacity, Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah warned on Saturday.

“Public awareness and adherence to precautionary measures is essential to continue the ease of restrictions,” Al-Rabiah told Al-Arabiya on Saturday. “We continue monitoring the situation based on the number of critical cases in hospitals and their capacity to receive them. We want to be able to receive all cases that reach out to us and provide them with the care that they need. We are all in one boat in this situation, we are one team, and we must work together cautiously. Lack of commitment will definitely take us back to where we were.”

The minister expressed his concern about overcrowding in some public places during the Eid holidays, adding that while crowds were likely at the initial phase of the ‘unlock’ he remained optimistic about the public’s awareness level.

The minister said that although children were the least likely to be infected they could carry the virus without symptoms. He advised families to keep children away from elderly members of their families such as grandparents.

There were 1,618 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning that 83,384 people have now contracted the disease. There are currently 24,501 active cases.

The Health Ministry announced that 1,870 more patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 58,883. More than 70 percent of coronavirus patients in the Kingdom have recovered from the disease.

There were 22 new COVID-19-related deaths reported on Saturday, raising the total number of fatalities to 480.

The ministry has assigned 30 health practitioners to carry out the third stage of an expanded examination plan to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in the city of Makkah.

FASTFACTS

• 58,883 recoveries

• 24,501 active cases

The examination will take place at a center in the Al-Zaidi district, where citizens and expats will be tested inside their cars through 12 tracks without the need to leave their vehicles. The center has the capacity for over 1,000 tests daily and these will be carried out through appointments made on the ministry’s Sehaty app.

Adjustments to previously announced social-distancing measures and regulations were announced by the Saudi Interior Ministry on Saturday. These include new violation penalties, as the second stage of restriction-easing starts on May 31.

Individuals who intentionally violate regulations will pay SR1,000 ($266). Breaches include not wearing a mask, not committing to social distancing marks and areas, refusing to undergo temperature checks at entrances, or not adhering to preventive protocols if their temperature is higher than 38 degrees Celsius.

The ministry amended the maximum number of people allowed for social gatherings inside homes, rest houses, farms, or in social events such as funerals and parties to 50 people.

Private sector establishments that are found to be non-compliant with new preventive measures and protocols will pay a penalty of SR10,000.

This penalty covers violations such as admitting entry to individuals not wearing medical or cloth masks, lack of disinfectants and sterilizers, not checking employee and customer temperatures at entrances, lack of sterilization on shopping facilities, cart surfaces and shopping baskets after each use, as well as opening fitting rooms and children’s play areas.
Penalties will be doubled upon repetition of the violation.