Yemen Yemen

The Kingdom has provided $11 billion to Yemenis in 3 years: Advisor to Saudi Royal Court

Fri, Dec. 28, 2018
CAIRO – 28 December 2018: We have implemented 260 projects in Yemen until now, worth 1.54 billion dollars, the share of the child is 83 projects. We have provided 550 million tons of medical and medicine assistance

Twenty-two million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance. The Kingdom did not deport even one Yemeni citizen who has legal papers. We have three million Yemeni citizens in the Kingdom; 561 thousands of them are refugees, and the deportees are very few numbers and the figures reported in some media are exaggerated.

Moreover, the Coalition Forces led by the Kingdom provided 50% of the United Nations’ response plan for the year 2018.

The Geneva conference has raised $ 2.01 billion for Yemen's humanitarian response plan, spearheaded by the Kingdom and the UAE with $1 billion. The Kingdom has announced to provide $100 million to fund the humanitarian response plan for Syria in coordination with the United Nations and international organizations.

The Kingdom funds the hospitals of Saada and Hajja Governorates. further-more, Prince Mohammed bin Salman donated $66.7 million to support the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

Houthis trade humanitarian aid and continue to attack the relief workers. We coordinate with the tribes and civil society organizations to pressure the Houthis to pass relief convoys.. We implemented 71 projects worth $ 134 mil-lion to enable Yemeni women.

Why does not aid reach the Yemeni people? A question that occupies observers of the Yemeni reality. Part of the answer may be due to violations, including thefts by Houthi's militia, towards humanitarian actions, and perhaps the latest of these violations was attacking Hana Lahj, one of the Red Cross team who was recently assassinated in the Al Dabab region on Taiz road.

The problem of humanitarian relief in Yemen is one of the thorniest and most pressing issues that we found through living Yemeni reality in various governorates of Aden, Lahj and Taiz Marib, and through monitoring the opinions of Yemeni citizens in the streets, camps and hospitals to determine the how much of aid reach them. In spite of the declared numbers - by various organizations of the humanitarian assistance directed to Yemen, both medical and food, but what actually reach them is very little and does not cover all the most needy classes of the Yemeni people.

The citizens we met assured us that the aid reaching them comes only from King Salman and that it is not enough to cover all their needs.

So, we decided to meet Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabiah, Advisor to the Royal Court, Chairman of the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Work and former Minister of Health, who explained many facts about the Yemen relief file, confirming that the aid is distributed according to specific mechanisms. There are also monitoring mechanism to ensure that aids reach those who need it.

In his interview with the Egypt Today, Dr. Al-Rabiah highlighted the challenges facing humanitarian work in areas, which are still under the control of Houthis in Yemen and the violations by Houthis towards the relief work and workers in Yemen. He referred as well to the Humanitarian Response plan 2018. He pointed out that there are 22 million Yemenis in need of humanitarian aid, including 11.3 million who need urgent reliefs. He also tackled other points re-lated to the relief file in Yemen.

Here is the interview:

What is the humanitarian role of the Arab Coalition Countries in Yemen?

There are significant humanitarian contributions by the countries participating in the coalition, especially as there are 22 million Yemenis in need of humanitarian assistance, 11.3 millions of whom are in need of urgent relief.

Let me tell you that the United Nations in 2018 launched a humanitarian need for Yemen of $2.96 billion. The Coalition Countries, led by the Kingdom, responded by $1.5 billion, which is 50 percent. This is the largest response in the history of the United Nations since its establishment. The first call by the Unit-ed Nations was in 2015 with an amount of $274 million and the Kingdom provided the entire amount through the center, and was distributed to the World Health Organization, the World Food Program and UNICEF.

The King Salman Center was able to solve problem of 20,000 stuck Yemenis, who traveled to a number of countries such as Egypt and Jordan before the war for medical treatment and could not return after the war.

Egypt provided assistance to the Yemenis, Pakistan and Bahrain, through the King Salman Center and we delivered them on behalf of Egypt. Saudi Arabia has provided about 11 billion dollars to Yemenis since May 2015 so far, including one billion dollars for refugees, 3 billion for development assistance, 3 billion to support the Central Bank of Yemen, 2.2 billion as aids to the government and $ 500 million within the comprehensive response plan 2018.

The Kingdom - Through the King Salman Center which was established by an initiative from King Salman, implemented 260 projects worth $ 1.54 billion. Food, health and shelter are at the forefront of the sectors we are targeting.
The Coalition Countries provided 628 aid trucks to Yemen.

Have you had a role in fighting the cholera epidemic?

We donated 550 million tons of medical and medicine assistance to Yemenis to fight this disease. Prince Mohammed bin Salman donated $66.7 million to sup-port the World Health Organization and UNICEF, in addition to the King's orders to donate $8 million and $7 million to the International Medical Corps, and $1.2 million for medical and medicine supplies, bringing the total contribution of the center in fighting cholera to be $ 83,191,292 million. Thus, the cholera treatment centers have been closed because the cases have been eliminated.

We have also established artificial limbs centers in Marib, Aden, Najran and soon in Taiz as well, so that we can provide limbs to the Yemeni victims of Houthi mines, who loses a lot of victims because of the mine disaster. We implemented 71 projects to support women in Yemen with a value of 134 million dollars. The child had 83 projects valued at 244 million in various sectors, including health and education, and programs to separate the Siamese twins, including even cases from Sana'a and Saada as we don’t discriminate.

Was there an exaggerated publicity for the spread of the epidemic?

Cholera spread in places controlled by Houthis because they stopped adding chlorine to water, and the garbage was accumulated as well. In this regard, the Kingdom supported the concerned authorities with adding chlorine and environmental sanitation in Yemen.

What are the available ways to deliver aid to Yemen?

The sea, the air and the land are all available means to transport aid. There are 2300 trucks that have gone to Yemen since the beginning of the crisis, we even used animals and camels. As during Taiz siege, we used camels to transport 5,000 cylinders of oxygen to save the people, after Houthi cut off electricity from four hospitals and the Kingdom provided 50 relief boats through Aden port, because the Houthis do not allow passage of the kingdom's ships across Hodeidah, while allowing the United Nations ships. We also use military aviation to drop medicine and food in coordination with local organizations.

Tell us about the mechanisms of the Center and the geographical sector in which it operates?

The King Salman Center takes international humanitarian law into account and does not favor any side or region in Yemen. Our assistance covers areas under the control of the Houthis in Saada, Hajjah and Hodeidah. And this is the message of the kingdom.

What are the challenges of humanitarian work and relief in Yemen?

Humanitarian work in Yemen is extremely difficult and faces many obstacles, although they are less in liberated areas than those under the control of Houthis. Moreover, there is a lack of suitable places and conditions for the preservation of medical aids. The local authority and international organizations are supposed to provide these places, but the financial conditions there are difficult, as some are trading part of this aid.

We are not alone in facing this crisis, there are also the international organizations and the United Nations; that they threatened Stephen O'Brien's proces-sion during his visit from Sanaa to Taiz and was almost killed.

Does the Center have documentation of specific crimes committed by the militia against the relief work?

Yes, we have a great history of Houthi violations of humanitarian work in Yemen as the war they waged and the suffering of the Yemenis was not enough for them. The Houthis presented a non-human model in dealing with one of the world's greatest humanitarian issues, the latest of which was the detention of 19 relief ships carrying 200,000 tons of oil derivatives. This was not the first crime of Houthis against the relief work, as from 2015 until this year, the number of relief vessels detained by the militia reached 65 ships and more than 615 trucks, 124 convoys, and four of them were blown up, and those which are detained either looted or paid charges that go to war efforts. Among other violations of militia is the use of anti-aircraft weapons in residential are-as.

In September 2015, 16 relief trucks of the World Food Program (WFP) were blocked while heading to Qutaiba Directorate in Dhala.

On November 3, 2016, two trucks belonging to the center were prevented from saving Hodeidah people in al-Jah village. On the same day, they seized a relief convoy that was going to the Tahita area. In October 2015, an aid convoy was detained by the center in Reema. Also 34 aid ships were prevented from emptying their loads. In July 2015, a humanitarian convoy of the World Food Program (WFP) was prevented from entering the city of Damat in Dhala. In June of that year, a WFP aid ship was forced to divert its route from the port of Aden To Hodeidah.

In May, another WFP aid ship in Hodeidah carrying 7 tons of food from the center was stopped and in the same month Aden warehouses stock of food was seized.

It also attacked work of international relief organizations to prevent UNICEF from entering Taiz province on October 22, 2016. Two months later, the Inter-national NGO Office in Yemen was closed the “NGO Forum”, and on 30 September seized an aid convoy of the “AN” organization for development while it was deading to Taiz. On July 31, the entry of an OCHA delegation to Taiz was denied.

Are relief convoys being looted and stolen with the aim of making money?

Yes, this is another form of militia abuses against humanitarian work in Yemen. Throughout three years from 2015 to 2018, a number of 13,815 food baskets were seized and traded on the black market.

It also seized three billion liters of oil and traded it on the black market, which doubled the crisis in Yemen significantly. Even workers in this field, whether the distribution of aids or conducting field surveys necessary to define needs be-fore distribution were subjected to violations ranging from arrest to violence and assault.

Yemen is a poor country; in 2014 before the coup, it has been the poorest country in the region and in 2014 the proportion of food needs reached 40 percent of the people, while 45 percent of the children suffer from malnutrition. Still the Kingdom, through the centers, and the UAE are the largest donor countries.

What mechanisms are in place to ensure that medical assistance reaches Yemenis?

Drugs are transported in land trucks from Riyadh through the joint crossing points between the Kingdom and Yemen and in coordination with the Yemeni Ministry of Health, local authorities and governors to ensure the protection of these aids. We also have control systems through local Yemeni and international institutions. We have offices in Aden and Marib. We follow conduct votes for the beneficiaries by phone through local Yemeni as well as international organizations. Then move to the warehouses of the Ministry in Marib, Aden and Taiz, and the Ministry responsible for distribution to hospitals.

How are aid distributed in areas not freed yet?

The challenges in these areas are very big. The shipments are being seized and threatened with weapons. They demand excessive customs which they allocate for war. Some of our convoys have been targeted by missiles and rockets, and the employees have been detained, in addition of looting these aids and selling them in black market. We, through cooperation with local organizations, try to find routes from the militants even if they are farther.

Are you limited to depend on local organizations only in reaching Yemeni depth?

We do not have other means according to each region. Sometimes we use the air, and we coordinate with the tribes that are keen on the interest of Yemenis to follow up the arrival and distribution of relief shipments.

What is your medical contribution in Yemen?

We are providing assistance to several hospitals in Marib, Taiz and Saada. We also support 6 private hospitals in Yemen. We are rehabilitating 102 health centers in Yemen and supplying them with medicines and devices in cooperation with the World Health Organization, we organize the provision of cholera vaccines to children as well. Further, we support Sanaa’s main hospital and co-ordinate with the minister of Health continuously to meet the medical needs of each area.

The Kingdom had a share of the Houthi attacks too.. Tell us about it and how do you face it?

We have received 66 thousand rockets on the Kingdom and 131 ballistic missiles have been directed so far, two of them on Riyadh and one on Mecca. The violations in the southern regions of Riyadh and Mecca have resulted in the killing of 107 Saudis and 870 were injured, 39 schools, 18 mosques and 5 hospitals have been damaged and 20 thousand Saudis displaced.

Houthis fire rockets at schools and hospitals whereas the coalition has set up 14,000 banned sites in Yemen for the sake of the lives of civilians.

Despite the humanitarian efforts of the Kingdom, but its presence in Yemen is questioned by some... Tell me about this role?

The Kingdom did not go to take over Yemen, but it was part of the coalition forces called by the President of Yemen to participate in protecting the sovereignty of the State. Saudi Arabia embraced the Yemeni National Dialogue Fo-rum and its outcomes. The Kingdom was also part of the Gulf initiative which is peaceful. It exerted every effort to succeed “Kuwait 1 and Kuwait 2” conferences, and also supported the Geneva Conference 1 and 2. All these efforts confirm the Kingdom's keenness on the lives and stability of the Yemeni peo-ple. When the people chose their government and its president, Houthi came, supported by Iran and undermined this choice and made the people suffer horribly. President Abd Rabbo Mansour asked for our interference after all peaceful solutions were undermined. Therefore, the Saudi-led coalition was formed and we support all the resolutions of the United Nations and the UN envoy for every peace initiative. The Kingdom wants peace for Yemen.

So who is behind the export of a false picture of the Saudi role in Yemen?

Unfortunately, we face a directed media war. Iran has a large media machine, but whoever sees reality will find out all the facts. We have declared numbers and the organizations are there. We visit the Western media, the Senate, the European Union and the British parliaments, to explain our role and they show positive interaction and response.

Kingdom has been known by its supportive efforts to the Yemenis at this stage, but the deportation of a number of Yemeni refugees has been seen by some as being contradictory to the national role of the Kingdom. How do you explain this?

We have three million Yemeni citizens in the Kingdom. The refugees are 561 thousand and the deportees are very few. The figures announced in media are exaggerated. I confirm that Saudi Arabia has not deported a person with legal papers, but only those who do not have papers or documents had been de-ported. There is some infiltrating without papers. They represent a threat to the internal security of the Kingdom. I asked to correct the papers for every Yemeni refugee here and gave them a time limit of two years and opened offices for registration. Those who did not perform the required procedures rep-resent a danger to the Kingdom.

What are the official mechanisms for dealing with Yemeni refugees?

The Ministry of the Interior registers them and enters them from the border. We also have offices at the King Salman Center on the border to ensure humanitarian support. We coordinate with civil society organizations here to en-sure their support, and with the Ministry of Education to provide them with educational opportunities. We also coordinated with the Ministry of Labor and hospitals to support them medically.

What are your plans for the coming period for the humanitarian aid file in Yemen?

The Geneva conference has raised $2.01 billion for the humanitarian response plan in Yemen from 40 donor countries spearheaded by the Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates with one billion dollars. The share of Saudi Arabia is $500 million, followed by the State of Kuwait with $250 million, the European Union with $132 million and $716,000, and the United States of America with $87 million.

The contribution of the Central Emergency Response Fund of the United Nations amounted up to $50 million, and the Federal Republic of Germany with $40,740,741. While Japan is with 38 million and 885 thousand and 316 dollars, while the contribution of Switzerland and Sweden, the two sponsors of the Conference is $40,86,693, and the rest of the contributions were distributed to participating countries.

Have you recently met with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.. What did he discuss?

We have established partnerships with the most important United Nations organizations and non-governmental organizations. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has recently visited us. He visited the Center's projects and praised the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for relief and humanitarian work. He confirmed that the Center is one of the most important working one in dozens of countries, as it has been developed a lot and works skillfully and professionally. It became one of the most important hope makers for those suffering from disasters, conflicts and events around the world.

He praised our experience in holding the children recruited in Yemen, which is a noble work and we may benefit from this experience in the United Nations, stressing that the center is one of the strongest institutions that cooperate with the United Nations humanitarian agencies, indicating that this is his third visit to the Center. The Secretary-General also said that we are grateful for the historic partnership and appreciate and value the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to provide $ 50 mil-lion to UNRWA to support the Palestinian people. This is a model to be followed by other donors.

We emphasize the importance of joint and essential cooperation between the Center and United Nations organizations. In 20 years, the Kingdom has provided $65.9 billion to the world's afflicted countries, which always exceeds 0.07 percent of the United Nations allocations to the donor countries.

The Center has been committed to the principles of international humanitarian law and has been able to implement 367 humanitarian projects in 40 countries in four continents around the world. Yemen has got the largest share of the project through implementing 260 projects worth 1.54 billion in all Yemeni governorates without exception.

What is your assessment of the role of the coalition in the humanitarian crisis in Yemen?

I would like to value the coalition countries for supporting humanitarian work, launching the comprehensive humanitarian operations plan in Yemen and the great efforts exerted to open 21 ports and land and air crossings, and support-ing their capacities to enter fuel and humanitarian and commercial assistance. That emphasizes the Kingdom’s keenness on the Yemeni People. In addition to supporting the Central Bank of Yemen to ensure the stability of the economy and the importance of the entry of all Yemeni resources to the Central Bank to enable the Yemeni government to pay salaries, and to implement mechanisms to ensure the necessary financial transparency.

How do you view the humanitarian situation in Yemen?

The grave violations committed by the Houthi militias against civilians reach the level of war crimes, including preventing people from obtaining water and food, blowing up wells and water stations, and shelling residential areas, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians, including women and children, and violating human rights instruments, The recruitment and placement of children as human shields in armed conflict and the rehabilitation programs provided by the Center.

What is your comment on the killing of Hanna Lahouj, a team member of the Red Cross, and the detention of 19 oil vessels?

We strongly condemn the attacks of Houthi militias on the aid of the United Nations organizations and aid agencies and their workers since the year 2015, and their confiscation of aid vessels and trucks carrying aid, and planting mines, as well as the launch of ballistic missiles and military projectiles on the cities of the Kingdom.

Do you participate in providing assistance to the Syrian people in their ordeal?

Yes, the Kingdom has announced the provision of $100 million to fund the humanitarian response plan for Syria, which will be provided through the Center and according to its mechanisms, in coordination with United Nations organizations and international organizations. The Kingdom announced this through Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir at the International Conference on the Future of Syria and the Region held in Brussels for two days.

I would like to emphasize the keenness of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, throughout its history, to consolidate the principles of harmony and cooperation between nations and peoples and to dedicate the values of giving and do-nation to relief the affected communities and to provide support and help to them throughout the world subjectively and without any religious or ethnic motives. However, the Kingdom, government and people, interacted clearly with human issues and UN calls to support areas of humanitarian needs anywhere in the world. So, size of humanitarian donations provided by Saudi Arabia during the past ten years reached $32.8 billion offered to more than eighty countries.

In the context of the humanitarian attitudes of the Kingdom towards the Syrian people inside Syria, as well as the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Turkey and Jor-dan, the Kingdom initiated through the Center to implement of relief and hu-manitarian projects amounting to $953 million in cooperation with United Na-tions organizations and international and regional organizations. The kingdom also received Syrian refugees and provided them with health and education services and employment opportunities to be able to lead their lives as normal as Saudi citizens, with a total support of $1.85 billion.

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hannah. Hannah has taken a 30-day trip to monitor Houthi crimes, the suffering of the people and the role of the coalition forces in restoring the Arab country from the hands of Iran's allies, documents revealing Houthi plan to spread the Shiite ideology, the mandate of the Faqih, and change the curriculum.
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