KSRelief doesn’t discriminate religiously, ethnically or politically, says top Saudi aid body chief

KSRelief doesn’t discriminate religiously, ethnically or politically, says top Saudi aid body chief
#KSrelief continues to support the victims of the floods in #Sudan with the distribution of 400 tents and shelter aid, in addition to nutrition and food supply to multiples areas. (Supplied)
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Updated 30 October 2020

KSRelief doesn’t discriminate religiously, ethnically or politically, says top Saudi aid body chief

KSRelief doesn’t discriminate religiously, ethnically or politically, says top Saudi aid body chief
  • Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, spoke exclusively to Arab News
  • KSRelief currently has 1,367 projects under way in 54 different countries with a total cost of $4.673 billion

JEDDAH: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) provides assistance to “needy people around the world regardless of religious, ethnic, and political background. The aid is free of any agenda, based instead on the mission for which it was founded.” These words of Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the supervisor-general of KSRelief, sum up in a nutshell Saudi Arabia's commitment to peace, sanctity of human life and dignity. In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Al-Rabeeah discussed some of KSRelief’s 1,367 projects under way in 54 countries at a total cost of $4.673 billion (SR17.52 billion).

One area that KSRelief has focused on is the removal of landmines. Al-Rabeeah estimates Iran-backed militias in Yemen have laid as many as 1.1 million mines since the outbreak of the conflict. To date, more than 192,000 have been safely removed thanks to the KSRelief-affiliate, Project Masam.

Q: Is the work of KSRelief limited to just Arab and Islamic countries?

A: The humanitarian, relief and development activities of KSRelief extend to all needy countries of the world, including the Arab and Islamic countries. This is in line with KSRelief’s mission of providing aid to all needy and affected people around the world without the slightest discrimination (religious, ethnic, political or otherwise) and without linking aid to any agenda. KSReliefs 1,367 projects and programs cover 54 different countries around the world on all its continents.

INNUMBERS

KSRelief

* 1,367 KSRelief projects.

* 54 Beneficiary countries.

* $4.673bn Total project costs.

* $269m Project costs for 2020.

* 259 Projects undertaken in 2018.

Q: Development through education and training projects constitutes a large part of KSRelief’s work. What is the purpose of that? 

A: To date, the center has implemented 74 educational projects, valued at $181.3 million in Yemen, Syria and Somalia and for the benefit of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, Bangladesh and other countries of the world, based on Saudi Arabia’s belief in the importance of supporting education among stricken peoples, as well as enhancing educational opportunities for children outside school, which the Kingdom considers an important part of the humanitarian and relief work that it carries out.

In addition to that, KSRelief’s efforts included implementing vocational training programs in many countries to empower needy families by qualifying them with a profession or craft and enabling them with an income-generating project so that these families transform from being dependent on the community to being productive families that rely on themselves in securing the basic needs that help them to lead a decent life.




KSRelief Supervisor General Abdullah Al-Rabeeah attends the Saudi-UAE-OCHA Humanitarian High-level Meeting held at KSrelief headquarters in Riyadh, on May 22, 2019. (AFP/File Phot)

Q: Which are the main countries served by KSRelief, and how much aid has been provided to them?

A: KSRelief has a noticeable humanitarian presence in many of the affected countries and always seeks to extend a helping hand to these countries and peoples to alleviate their suffering and meet their basic needs according to an integrated system of education, health, food and shelter services. At the forefront of those countries is Yemen, which suffered a coup by the Houthi militia, which is supported by Iran.

KSRelief allocated most of its aid to the brothers in Yemen, and the projects implemented for Yemen amounted to 513 worth $3.253 billion. The Syrian people also received a large share of KSRelief’s support, as it implemented 225 projects in Syria with a total value of $296.9 million. It also carried out 88 projects in the occupied Palestinian territories with a value of $359.6 million. Other projects carried out by KSRelief include 54 projects in Somalia with a value of $197.8 million and 113 projects in Pakistan with a value of $120.4 million, among many others.

Q: How have KSRelief’s most recent projects helped displaced people in Yemen and communities affected by the Beirut port explosion and the Sudan floods?

A: Since its establishment, KSRelief has been working to provide various forms of humanitarian support to the Yemeni brothers, including shelter, food, health and education, covering all its governorates. KSRelief also initiated urgent relief for the brothers in Sudan, whose areas have recently been exposed to floods and natural disasters that have resulted in the loss of lives and property. An airlift was launched that included providing food, shelter, medical aid and assistance.

KSRelief also launched an airlift that included medical, housing and food aid for those affected by the Beirut port explosion, which had resulted in heavy losses of life, property and infrastructure. These urgent initiatives were the result of the generous directives of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in extending a helping hand to needy and affected countries.




KSRelief allocated most of its aid to Yemen, and the projects implemented for Yemen amounted to 513 worth $3.253 billion. (Supplied)

Q: KSRelief is the only entity authorized to collect donations in the Kingdom. Has it been popular? Can non-residents donate?

A: KSRelief has an online donation platform for all its humanitarian and relief programs, through which donors, whether inside or outside the Kingdom, can create personal accounts that provide them with access to the programs they wish to support and donate to them using credit cards and electronic payment mechanisms. The platform also provides direct donations with the opportunity to link donations to the countries and programs of their choice.

This online platform is the only official platform that provides its users with the opportunity to donate to the programs of KSRelief, whose programs reach beneficiaries in many countries around the world, bearing in mind that the center does not deduct any administrative expenses from donations. As for its popularity, the platform is still new, and we hope for the best in the future.

Q: Health and the protection of women and children form part of KSRelief’s concern. Are there special funds allocated to these?

A: Each sector has a special budget and an amount allocated to it, regardless of the type of beneficiary. For example, the health sector has implemented 369 projects worth $797.8 million so far, while it has implemented 74 educational projects with a value of $181.3 million.

KSRelief has also carried out various projects for the benefit of women, amounting to more than 225 projects, and reached more than 62 million women worldwide in four years at a cost of $390 million. KSRelief also cares about children. Therefore, since its inception, it has managed to reach 114 million children through 234 projects. Therefore, the amount distributed to each project or each sector varies according to the size and type of the project.




KSrelief also initiated urgent relief for Sudan, which has recently been exposed to floods and natural disasters that have resulted in the loss of lives and property. (Supplied)

Q: Project Masam is one of KSRelief's most important initiatives implemented in Yemen. Is its remit limited to clearing landmines?

A: Project Masam is a Saudi humanitarian project specialized in clearing Yemeni lands of mines. Iranian-backed militias have laid more than 1.1 million mines across swathes of Yemen. Large quantities of them have been laid in areas inhabited by civilians.

Project Masam is removing these mines. It has so far cleared more than 192,000 from the land, schools and homes, many of them camouflage in a variety of shapes and colors and planted using different methods, killing and seriously injuring a large number of children, women and elderly people.

Q: How many Yemeni children have been helped through the child-soldier rehabilitation project?

A: KSRelief implements a qualitative program to rehabilitate children who have been recruited by the Houthi militia and thrown into the conflict as human shields. The center rehabilitates them, integrates them into society, returns them to their normal lives and provides social support so that they can live their lives as children.

This program, which received international acclaim, aims to educate parents about the dangers of child recruitment and works to create healthy family environments through awareness and educational sessions and by introducing laws that criminalize child recruitment.

Here I stress the importance of raising awareness of the danger of child recruitment, clarifying it to societies, and emphasizing the principles of human rights and international law that prohibit the exploitation of children in armed conflict.




With the support of KSRelief, a fifth batch of food baskets has been distributed in Madagascar to assist those affected by floods and hurricanes; the situation has worsened there recently due to the spread of COVID-19. (Supplied

Q: What facilities are provided for refugees inside Saudi Arabia, and how are they dealt with?

A: The Kingdom hosts hundreds of thousands of Yemeni, Syrian and Rohingya refugees who live on its territory as honored guests and visitors and not as refugees. They enjoy freedom of movement, enrollment in government schools, engagement in the labor market, and access to health services.

KSRelief has established a platform for refugees, displaced persons and visitors to highlight the type and volume of aid provided to them by Saudi Arabia both inside and outside the Kingdom. The aid provided to them has reached $13.7 billion so far.

Q: KSRelief works with several international organizations. How does it coordinate with them in Yemen and other beneficiary countries?

A: KSRelief is constantly and continuously coordinating with international humanitarian organizations to bring aid to the needy. In Yemen, KSRelief is one of the biggest supporters in the field of humanitarian work in all Yemeni governorates and regions. Therefore, all humanitarian organizations operating inside Yemen seek to coordinate with the center to facilitate the delivery of aid to the afflicted. KSRelief has branches inside Yemen that meet periodically with humanitarian organizations to provide exemplary work in the relief and humanitarian fields.




KSRelief provides assistance to “needy people around the world regardless of religious, ethnic, and political background.” (Supplied)

Q: How many volunteers support KSrelief? How are they integrated into its work?

A: KSRelief has established a platform for volunteering. The number of registered volunteers has reached 15,562, who have been classified according to their specialties and the center’s need for their services.

KSRelief’s volunteer programs fall under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and are based on the principle of voluntary work as one of the seven principles of humanitarianism recognized by international law.


Saudi Arabia to fine air passengers up to SR500k for COVID-19 travel ban breaches

Saudi Arabia to fine air passengers up to SR500k for COVID-19 travel ban breaches
Updated 02 August 2021

Saudi Arabia to fine air passengers up to SR500k for COVID-19 travel ban breaches

Saudi Arabia to fine air passengers up to SR500k for COVID-19 travel ban breaches
  • Similar penalties would also apply to operators or owners of the means of transportation

RIYADH: The Saudi Public Prosecution office has warned it will impose fines of up to SR500,000 ($133,323) on passengers breaching travel ban restrictions by boarding flights to countries hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Similar penalties would also apply to operators or owners of the means of transportation.

In a tweet on Sunday, officials added that severe punitive measures would be taken against travelers who failed to disclose they had visited any countries listed on the Kingdom’s COVID-19 travel ban list.


Saudi HR ministry launches tough measures for unvaccinated workers

A nurse speaks to a man before administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine as part of a vaccination campaign by the Saudi health ministry, in Riyadh. (AFP file photo)
A nurse speaks to a man before administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine as part of a vaccination campaign by the Saudi health ministry, in Riyadh. (AFP file photo)
Updated 02 August 2021

Saudi HR ministry launches tough measures for unvaccinated workers

A nurse speaks to a man before administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine as part of a vaccination campaign by the Saudi health ministry, in Riyadh. (AFP file photo)
  • Authorities instruct all institutions to require proof of immunity against COVID-19 from employees

JEDDAH: Unvaccinated employees within the Saudi public, private, and nonprofit sectors will have their leave days deducted until they receive a COVID-19 jab, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has warned.

The ministry issued a statement on Sunday clarifying procedures to deal with unvaccinated employees following the Ministry of Interior’s instruction for institutions to limit entry to vaccinated people after Aug 1.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Saudi Arabia has increased ahead of the deadline, with about 350,000 doses being administered per day, with a total vaccination rate of about 78 doses per 100 people in the Kingdom.
As a result, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development instructed all institutions in the Kingdom to require proof of immunity against COVID-19 from employees and workers, as approved by the Ministry of Health on the Tawakkalna mobile app.
The gradual plan to deal with unvaccinated employees begins with directing them to work remotely, according to the work need. In case remote work is not beneficial for the institution by Aug. 9, the employee will be granted leave deducted from their official leave balance.

HIGHLIGHT

The gradual plan to deal with unvaccinated employees begins with directing them to work remotely, according to the work need. In case remote work is not beneficial for the institution by Aug. 9, the employee will be granted leave deducted from their official leave balance.

As for the public sector, employees will consume their eligible leave days according to their legally approved conditions and requirements. However, if those requirements are not met or the employee has exhausted their leave balance, then absence days must be deducted from the balance of regular leaves or will be considered as an unpaid excused absence.
In the private and nonprofit sectors, employers will allow unvaccinated employees to go on official leave that will be calculated from their annual leave.
In case the annual leave balance is exhausted, employees will be granted unpaid leave, and their work contract will be considered suspended during the period once it exceeds 20 days, unless the two parties agree otherwise.
In case of disagreement with a worker, the employer shall deal with the consequences according to the procedures approved by law. The employee must be informed about decisions issued in this regard.
However, the ministry said that the new regulations do not apply to people who are excluded from taking the vaccine according to the Tawakkalna app.


Only fully jabbed students can return to school, says Saudi Education Ministry

Only fully jabbed students can return to school, says Saudi Education Ministry
Updated 02 August 2021

Only fully jabbed students can return to school, says Saudi Education Ministry

Only fully jabbed students can return to school, says Saudi Education Ministry
  • Primary, kindergarten pupils will return to classrooms once 70% of population has been double-jabbed or October 30

JEDDAH: Only students who have been fully jabbed against COVID-19 can go back to school once the academic year begins on Aug. 29, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Education said on Sunday.
High school and middle school students who have completed their vaccination program in Saudi Arabia are set to return to the classroom by the end of the month.
Elementary and preschool students will be exempt from returning until 70 percent herd immunity has been achieved through double dosage.
Saudi Arabia has so far administered more than 27.2 million vaccine doses and 8.25 million people have received both shots, making up 23.7 percent of the country’s 34.8 million population.
The ministry said appointments would be provided for staff and eligible students to get vaccinated in time for the start of the school year.
At Sunday’s press conference, Ministry of Health spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly urged pregnant women to get jabbed. He reaffirmed the vaccines’ safety and efficacy and said a large number of unvaccinated pregnant women around the world had been hospitalized with COVID-19.

FASTFACT

The total number of coronavirus cases in KSA reached 526,814.

He also called on doctors to do their part in communicating the importance of COVID-19 vaccines to pregnant women. “You aren’t just protecting one life, you’re protecting two,” he added.
Exemptions, including cases of medically proven hypersensitivity to the vaccines or one of their components, are determined through reports issued by the ministry.
Ministry of Commerce spokesman Abdulrahman Al-Husain said that more than 1 million commercial establishments had followed health precautions to only admit immune customers on the first day that all residents in the Kingdom were required to have had at least one dose or have recovered from COVID-19 in order to enter commercial, government, private and public establishments.
On Sunday there were 1,084 new cases recorded in the Kingdom, bringing the total to 526,814.
There were 1,285 new recoveries, taking this total to 507,374, while 12 new deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 8,249. More than 25.12 million PCR tests have been conducted so far.


Saudi military chief meets Bahraini counterpart

Saudi military chief meets Bahraini counterpart
Updated 02 August 2021

Saudi military chief meets Bahraini counterpart

Saudi military chief meets Bahraini counterpart

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Chief of the General Staff Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili received Chief of Staff of Bahrain Defense Force Lt. Gen. Dhiyab bin Saqr Al-Nuaimi, and his accompanying delegation, at King Salman Air Base in Riyadh on Sunday.

During the meeting, they exchanged military views and discussed issues of common interest, stressing the strength of relations and ways to achieve the shared goals of the armed forces of the two countries.

Saudi Deputy Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Mutlaq bin Salem Al-Azima, who is also the acting commander of the joint forces, then accompanied Al-Nuaimi on a visit to the Joint Forces Command and briefed him on the progress of the operations led by the Arab coalition forces to support legitimacy in Yemen.

They also discussed ways to support and enhance these to ensure regional security and stability.

Maj. Gen. Turki bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, commander of the Royal Saudi Air Forces, also received Al-Nuaimi in the Air Force Command. During the meeting, they discussed many issues of common interest.

 

 

 


Who’s Who: Abdullah Saud Al-Hammad, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing 

Who’s Who: Abdullah Saud Al-Hammad, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing 
Updated 02 August 2021

Who’s Who: Abdullah Saud Al-Hammad, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing 

Who’s Who: Abdullah Saud Al-Hammad, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing 

Abdullah Saud Al-Hammad has been the deputy minister for land and survey at the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing since June 2021.

He has been a board member of the Real Estate General Authority, the Saudi Authority for Accredited Valuers and the Off-Plan Sales and Rent Committee (Wafi) since November 2020. He has also been a supervisor of the Idle Lands Program since September 2019.

Prior to that, Al-Hammad was assistant to the deputy minister for land at the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing from September 2019 to June 2021.

He served in several positions at the ministry, working as assistant to the deputy minister for technical affairs from December 2018 to September 2019 and as director of the project management office from January 2018 to December 2018.

From January 2017 to January 2018, Al-Hammad was program manager at the ministry, serving as director of the Eastern Province projects and Alkhobar housing project and as an architectural engineer.

Al-Hammad is passionate about architecture, which is his specialty, and is currently a member of the advisory board of the department of architecture and building sciences at the College of Architecture and Planning at King Saud University.

His areas of interest include digital transformation, and he contributed to transforming the customer experience for one of the products of the Sakani Program into an integrated electronic journey that reduces the process from six months to five minutes. He aspires to transfer the experience to the municipal sector.

Al-Hammad received a bachelor’s degree in architecture and building science from King Saud University in August 2010 and completed the executive leadership development program from Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning in November 2020.