Saudi Arabia sends 4,000 tons of flood relief to Pakistan via land, air routes

Saudi Arabia sends 4,000 tons of flood relief to Pakistan via land, air routes
Ten Saudi flights loaded with various relief goods delivered the aid, with packages handed over to the National Disaster Management Authority. (Supplied)
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Updated 05 October 2022

Saudi Arabia sends 4,000 tons of flood relief to Pakistan via land, air routes

Saudi Arabia sends 4,000 tons of flood relief to Pakistan via land, air routes
  • Almost 800,000 people receive Saudi aid in 51 flood-affected areas of the country
  • KSrelief to carry out damage assessment, help in rebuilding with Saudi Fund for Development

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia has sent 4,000 tons of food relief to Pakistan, with the aid provided by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center helping almost 800,000 people worst affected by the disaster.

The floods, caused by abnormal monsoon rains and glacial melt, have submerged vast swathes of the South Asian country since mid-June and killed almost 1,700 people, most of them women and children.

Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are living in the open, exposed to malaria, diarrhea, dengue fever, and severe skin and eye infections, with stagnant floodwaters, which officials say will take months to recede, increasing disease transmission.

“A total of 4,385 tons of different kinds of relief goods through land route and air bridges have been distributed so far, which benefited more than 785,636 people all across Pakistan,” Dr. Khalid Muhammad Al-Othmani, KSrelief Pakistan director, told reporters in Islamabad on Tuesday.

He said the agency had also distributed 15,000 packages containing more than 1,425 tons of essential food items in the southwestern province of Balochistan, one of the worst hit by floods.

Ten Saudi flights loaded with various relief goods delivered the aid, with packages handed over to the National Disaster Management Authority. Relief goods have also been sent via a land bridge established by KSrelief.

“So far, a total of 65,000 food packages, 50,000 mosquito nets, 5,000 relief tents, and 25,000 NFI (non-food items) kits have been distributed in 51 affected areas all over Pakistan,” Saudi Ambassador Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki said.

He added that a field survey will be conducted in coordination with other government organizations to assess damage due to the floods, which swept away and destroyed houses, schools, health centers, water projects, bridges and roads.

“After the data is collected, the scope of the works will be studied, and the facilities will be rehabilitated by KSrelief together with the Saudi Fund for Development,” Al-Malki said.

NDMA Chairman Lt. Gen. Akhtar Nawaz thanked the Kingdom’s leadership for the timely assistance.

“Saudi Arabia has always supported Pakistan in difficult times, be it the earthquake of 2005, the super flood of 2010, and these unprecedented monsoon-triggered floods now,” he said.

“On behalf of the government of Pakistan and NDMA, I assure you that whatever support is coming, without delay it will be delivered to the affected people in the most proficient manner.”

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Red Bull Mobile hosts global bike shows in Alkhobar, Riyadh and Jeddah

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Red Bull Mobile hosts global bike shows in Alkhobar, Riyadh and Jeddah

Red Bull Mobile hosts global bike shows in Alkhobar, Riyadh and Jeddah
  • Athletes Viki Gomez, Kenny Belaey and Senad Grosic put on exceptional performances
  • BMX stars expressed their admiration for ‘magnificence of Saudi cities’

JEDDAH: Residents of Alkhobar, Riyadh and Jeddah enjoyed an unforgettable three-day event thanks to Red Bull athletes Viki Gomez, Kenny Belaey and Senad Grosic, who participated in an international BMX biking show hosted by Saudi Arabia from Nov. 17-19.
Rally champion and media personality Sultan Hamdi hosted the event, while international DJ Mosaken performed a high-energy set.
On the first day, the shows were held in front of the Red Bull Mobile store in Al-Gosaibi Village in Alkhobar, while on the following day, they moved to the U Walk in Riyadh. The closing ceremony took place in Jeddah, in front of the Red Bull Mobile store at Le Prestige Mall.
During the second leg of the event, held in the capital, the three athletes expressed their delight at coming to the Kingdom and interacting with the crowds.
Gomez spoke of the “magnificence of the Saudi cities” that he visited.
“I’m in awe of this place. The audience was amazing,” he said, adding that the enthusiasm of the public raised the “caliber of the performances.”
He said: “It’s sad the event has come to an end and time has gone by so quickly, and I will miss Saudi Arabia very much.”
Meanwhile, Belaey expressed his admiration for the commercial center in Riyadh, which he visited several times, pointing to the great growth the Kingdom has witnessed.
He said: “Traveling around Saudi Arabia is a wonderful thing, and especially putting on shows in front of diverse people and cultures, and getting immersed in the vibe of different, interesting cities and sites.”


Saudi hospital named one of the world’s best mega projects

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Updated 38 min 45 sec ago

Saudi hospital named one of the world’s best mega projects

Saudi hospital named one of the world’s best mega projects
  • King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center in Madinah boasts range of services with focus on oncology, ophthalmology, obstetrics

RIYADH: King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center’s Al-Madinah Mega Project has been named by the Project Management Institute as one of the world’s best three schemes in the Large and Mega category.

The award recognizes projects with a budget of more than $50 million that seek to encourage superior management practices and organizational results while also having a positive impact on society.

The PMI chapter in Saudi Arabia named it as its Social Project of the Year.

The hospital and research center utilizes cutting-edge medical technology and offers a full range of services with a focus on oncology, ophthalmology, and obstetrics.

The complex spans some 331,000 sq. meters, and has a 300-bed capacity.

 


Filipino volunteers join Saudi ‘green’ initiative

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Updated 07 December 2022

Filipino volunteers join Saudi ‘green’ initiative

Filipino volunteers join Saudi ‘green’ initiative
  • Officials from the embassy and NCVC gathered for a jointly organized tree-planting event on Dec. 3 in the Saad National Park
  • The event was also intended to mark International Volunteer Day

RIYADH: As part of the Philippines Embassy’s initiative to celebrate the 53rd diplomatic anniversary with Saudi Arabia, the embassy recently took part in the “Let’s Make it Green” afforestation initiative being implemented by the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification across the Kingdom.
Officials from the embassy and NCVC gathered for a jointly organized tree-planting event on Dec. 3 in the Saad National Park, 100 km east of Riyadh.
The event was also intended to mark International Volunteer Day, which takes place annually on Dec. 5. This year’s theme is “Solidarity through volunteering.” According to the website of the UN Volunteers program, which coordinates IVD, the campaign “highlights the power of our collective humanity to drive positive change through volunteerism.”
Rommel Romato, charge d’affaires at the embassy, said: “The Filipino’s sense of volunteerism and commitment to environmental sustainability transcend our borders. Our dynamic Filipino community in Saudi Arabia fully supports the Saudi Green Initiative programs by undertaking clean-up drives and tree planting activities, among others.”
Amal Al-Daej, international relations and strategic partnership adviser of the NCVC, said: “The government of Saudi Arabia has decided to overcome environmental and ecological limitations through different initiatives. The most prominent among them is the Saudi Green Initiative which was launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2021. It aims to plant 450 million trees by 2030 — with a long-term target of 10 billion trees.
“This initiative foresees that afforestation and land-restoration measures will increase the Kingdom’s forestry sink to over 200 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030. Besides that, it is envisaged that the protected areas shall be increased to 30 percent of the total land area of Saudi Arabia by 2030.
Similar climate initiatives are also planned under the Middle East Green Initiative at the regional level, Al-Daej added.
She said: “Obviously it is difficult to draw comparisons between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia regarding the management of natural resources since it is a tropical country. Almost 90 percent of the total 25 percent forest cover of the Philippines is planted. We may learn from the plantation activities in mangrove forests in the Philippines, and also about nursery techniques for raising tree seedlings.
“The measures being taken by the Philippines to control the sharp rate of decline in forest cover over the past few decades would also be useful for us. Similarly, knowledge sharing may also be possible in regard to the management of protected areas.
“We very much appreciate the efforts being made by the volunteers from the Philippines. Indeed, the message to improve green cover through this event will help to encourage others to join in our efforts for greening Saudi Arabia,” Al-Daej added.


Legendary French animator Michel Ocelot talks inspiration, creativity and fame

Legendary French animator Michel Ocelot talks inspiration, creativity and fame
Updated 07 December 2022

Legendary French animator Michel Ocelot talks inspiration, creativity and fame

Legendary French animator Michel Ocelot talks inspiration, creativity and fame
  • Childhood in ‘beautiful’ Kenya shaped his vision
  • Key to artistry is facing fear, he says at Red Sea festival

JEDDAH: Legendary French animator Michel Ocelot says the key to becoming an accomplished artist is to continue to face one’s fears of failing and never giving up.
Ocelot, 79, offered this advice to fellow creatives on the sidelines of the Red Sea International Film Festival currently underway. He was speaking during one of the “In Conversation” sessions at the Red Sea Mall in Jeddah on Dec. 6.
The Frenchman is a writer, designer, storyboard artist, and director of an array of acclaimed animated feature films. He is mostly recognized for “Kirikou et la Sorciere” released in 1998 which means “Kirikou and the Witch,” and also his remarkable animation “Azur and Asmar: The Princes’ Quest” released in 2006.
“Kirikou et la Sorciere” marked the rebirth of French animation in the cinema and it was a striking start to the passionate Ocelot’s artistic career. “I know what I want, I’m doing it and I love it,” he said.
The artwork for “Kirikou et la Sorciere” was completely handmade and drawn. After struggling “hard” as an artist he suddenly found international success.
He said he had produced the work with “not much money” and without the backing or support of a company or a board of directors. He had succeeded in creating a compelling fictional world from very few resources.
Ocelot’s brilliant work is an inspiration for generations of experts and emerging animation artists. “Kids who were kids at the time (and are) now adults … come to me and thank me. And sometimes they cry. So, I’m lucky.”
Despite his success, Ocelot’s start was challenging. “It was hard to find my way because when I started animation didn’t really exist.” He said there were no schools, and he did not have resources to pay for cameras or editing. “So, I lost quite some time. I learned by myself.”
“I think I started at the year of 1 or 2, I took a pencil and I drew and I never stopped. And then I was a happy child and I was always active. And I think I prepared myself for my job from my infancy. And I would draw in paint and cut (it out) and get into a disguise and decorate the house for the festivals, and make a little gift with a nice package. And that’s my vision today.”
His artistic sensibility was influenced by his formative years growing up in Kenya where he was inspired by the country’s “beautiful and benevolent people.”
“I remember the beauty of the people and the dresses of (the) women on festival days … True elegance, happy elegance, and the details within which made my infancy in the world of animation special.”
Ocelot eventually became president of the International Animated Film Association, a position which allowed him to showcase his understanding and affinity to different cultures, and to reflect his passion for Africa.
“So that’s always been a great part of my life. Being aware of different worlds and being at ease with them and being at ease with such different parts of the world. I can put myself in the place of other people easily, and I know the relatability of things.”
Ocelot said artists must overcome their fears and try to be as original as possible. “Give everything you have. Try not to listen to bad advice. Sometimes you get good advice, but it’s better not to follow them. Don’t be afraid to start.”
His new animated feature film that was released earlier this year, “The Black Pharaoh, the Savage and the Princess,” was screened for the audience after the session.


Chinese President Xi arrives in Saudi Arabia on official visit

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Updated 07 December 2022

Chinese President Xi arrives in Saudi Arabia on official visit

Chinese President Xi arrives in Saudi Arabia on official visit
  • Xi was invited by King Salman to attend a Saudi-Chinese summit in the Kingdom
  • Xi’s visit reflects the leaders’ desire to strengthen bilateral relations

RIYADH: China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday as part of a three-day visit to the Kingdom. 
Xi was invited by King Salman to attend a Saudi-Chinese summit in the Kingdom, which will run until Dec. 9, state agency SPA reported. 
The summit, headed by King Salman, will also see the participation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 
Xi is set to attend two more conferences, the Riyadh Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development and the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development during his visit. 
All three summits will focus on ways to enhance joint relations in all fields and economic cooperation.
Leaders from GCC and Arab countries will also participate in the events held in Saudi Arabia. 
Xi’s visit reflects the leaders’ desire to strengthen bilateral relations, enhance strategic partnerships and highlight potential political and economic cooperation to serve common interests, SPA added.