Saudi Arabia pledges $500m of aid to Yemen

Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, head of KSrelief and Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Faisal bin Farhan during the donors coonference. (KSrelief)
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Updated 03 June 2020

Saudi Arabia pledges $500m of aid to Yemen

  • $300 million will go to UN agencies and $200 million to KSrelief.

RIYADH: International donors at a Saudi-hosted UN conference on Tuesday promised $1.35 billion in new humanitarian aid for Yemen.

The Kingdom itself pledged an aid package worth $500 million, and Britain offered a new tranche of support worth $200 million.

“This targeted UK aid package will mean the difference between life and death for thousands of Yemenis, who now also face the threat of coronavirus,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

Germany also promised $140 million in assistance. The virtual conference took place as aid groups warned the COVID-19 pandemic could wreak havoc in Yemen after years of conflict and crippling funding shortages.

“We are in a race against time,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “Aid agencies estimate they will need up to $2.41 billion to cover essential aid from June until December, including programs to counter COVID-19.”

Without the required funding, more than 30 out of 41 major UN programs in Yemen could close in the next few weeks, Guterres warned. “Tackling COVID-19 on top of the existing humanitarian emergency requires urgent action,” he said.

Yemen is already gripped by what the UN calls the worst humanitarian crisis, with tens of thousands killed, an estimated 4 million people displaced by war and tens of thousands afflicted by malnutrition and disease.

The UN says COVID-19 has probably already spread throughout most of Yemen, while the Yemeni government has officially recorded only a few hundred cases.

“COVID-19 has created new needs there, but it is just the latest challenge in an already deteriorating situation,” said Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief). “Yemen needs a lot of help, not least because of its weak health system.”

The Kingdom’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, who led the Saudi presence at the conference, said Saudi Arabia was keen to support UN efforts to reach a sustainable political solution to the Yemeni crisis, to end the suffering of the Yemeni people and support humanitarian and economic developments to restore security and stability.

Guterres said death rates from COVID-19 in the southern city of Aden alone were among the highest in the world. “There are shortages of testing devices, oxygen, ambulances and basic protective equipment,” he said. “Even hospitals that are operational and equipped may not have a reliable electricity supply.”

The main reason for the shortage of funds in Yemen is obstruction by Iran-backed Houthi militias, who control the capital, Sanaa. The US decreased its aid to Yemen this year, because of interference by the Houthis.


Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. (SPA)
Updated 04 August 2020

Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

  • COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia continue to fall, officials say

JEDDAH: Pilgrims who took part in this year’s Hajj must continue wearing electronic tags so authorities can track their 14-day quarantine once they return home.

The bracelet is designed to monitor pilgrims’ adherence to quarantine, as well as monitoring and recording their health status through the “Tatamman” app.
Pilgrims were required to quarantine before embarking on the Hajj and wore the bracelets to ensure they were obeying the self-isolation rules as part of strict measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The country continues to experience a decline in COVID-19 cases. Recorded infections remain below the 2,000 mark for the 10th day in a row. The Kingdom reported 1,258 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, raising the number of those infected to 280,093 so far.
There are currently 35,091 active cases and six patients were admitted to critical care units, raising the number to 2,017. There were 32 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 2,949.
There were 1,972 new recoveries recorded, raising the total number of recoveries to 242,053.
More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. The total number of PCR tests conducted to date exceeds 3.47 million.

INNUMBERS

280,093 COVID-19 cases

242,053 Recoveries

35,091 Active cases

2,949 Total deaths

3.47m PCR tests

The Ministry of Health has been carrying out daily visits to health institutions in order to assess their level of commitment to anti-coronavirus measures, such as ensuring that staff adhere to social distancing, wear masks, and adopt the health practices and crisis management mechanisms recommended by authorities to protect patients and staff.
Teams have been dispatched to supervise the compliance of health facilities’ quarantine centers across Saudi Arabia and stepped up their visits to government and private hospitals to ensure their compliance with health protocols, sample transfers and staff testing as well as ensuring that all routine surgeries are stopped.
More than 5,000 violations have been recorded and violators were referred to committees. More than 150 facilities were temporarily shut down by the ministry until the proper protocols were implemented and the violations were fixed. A number of institutions were able to resume operations after settling fines.