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UAE NATIONAL DAY REPORT 2002 - Red Crescent Society

posted on 30/11/2002: 1591 views


The UAE Red crescent Society, RCS, continue to make significant appearances in areas of conflicts and disaster stricken areas, reaching out to people in distress, particularly in Palestinian occupied territories and Afghanistan. The RCS has always moved swiftly to give the needed humanitarian assistance and support to those who deserve them in various disaster stricken areas in all parts of the world.



In a statement, Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the RCS, said that his outfit had been able to win for itself an enviable position among the world's charity and humanitarian organisations. This, he said, wouldn't have been possible without the continuous support and guidance of President H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan and H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who, he said, remained committed to giving emergency assistance to affected people in any part of the world. Sheikh Hamdan said that the UAE RCS was one of the first charity organisations to deliver emergency relief and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, who are being subjected to all forms of inhuman practices by the Israeli government.



He pointed out that since the beginning of the "Intifada” in September 2000, the RCS had delivered various relief assistance at a total cost of Dhs285million to the Palestinian people. These, he said, include relief programmes like housing, hospitals, medical and food items and cash. He went on to say that the RCS had also delivered emergency relief assistance to the Afghan people and to a number of countries, who were hit by natural or human disaster, adding that what the UAE had achieved was not a sheer coincidence but a fruit of years of dedicated and hard work led by Sheikh Zayed and his brethren, their Highnesses Members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the emirates.



The unflinching support the RCS continue to enjoy from H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the President's Wife and Chairwoman of the UAE General Women's Union, GWU, can not also be over emphasised.



RCS Board Chairman Khalifa Nasser Al Suweidi said that the successes achieved by the UAE in relief and humanitarian fields were a source of pride for UAE and its people. "The unstinting support by UAE leadership has enabled the RCS to extend its helping hand to all the needy and the affected people worldwide,” he said. Another RCS official said the federal law issued recently by the President, setting up the UAE Red Crescent Authority, RCA, marked a new era of devotion, sacrifice and dedication to humanitarian services.



Sanaa Al Qitbi, RCS Secretary General, said the six-chapter law, which made the RCA a national corporate body with financial and administrative independence, showed the spacious room occupied by humanitarian issues in Zayed's heart and soul. The law stated the objectives of the organisation which include working to spread the message of humanity based on the protection of and respect for human life and the alleviation of human sufferings. The RCS has earmarked Dh 37.5 million of its 2002 budget allocation for local assistance. A total amount of Dh 13.5 million has been spent over the first half of the year. This is due to an increasing number of beneficiaries of the RCS' various assistance.



Beneficiaries include students from poor families, prisoners jailed on money or debt-related crimes, by paying their debts and providing them with vocational training during their jail terms, humanitarian aid projects, medical assistance to 300 people, including those requiring surgery, seasonal projects such as the distribution of "Al Adha” meat among 10,000 families, Haj projects from which 70 people benefited, financial support for local establishments in the building of schools, houses and the refurbishment of mosques, support for centres for the disabled, and Quran Memorisation Centres, as well as support for widows, divorced women and wives of prisoners.



The total cost of relief programmes and projects undertaken by the RCS within the same period reached Dh 175.7 million. Out of the amount foreign assistance amounted to about Dh161.5million, while the remaining amount of Dh13.5 went to local projects as mentioned above.



In Africa, the RCS has launched a number of relief operations. It delivered US$100,000 urgent relief supplies to the victims of a train crash in Tanzania, while poor families in Benin received 80 tonnes of foodstuff and clothing. The RCS also delivered 70 tonnes of relief supplies to the drought and disaster-hit areas in Somalia, 80 tonnes of food assistance to the flood-affected areas in Yemen and delivered emergency relief assistance to flood victims in Syria as a result of the collapse of the Zaizoun Dam, which killed more than 20 and destroyed over 200 houses.



The RCS also offered humanitarian assistance to 22,000 Chechen refuggees in Chechnya and Inghushetia. The RCS continues to extend humanitarian services to the Afghan refugees in Chaman camp although it is still undertaking a voluntary repatriation programme to Afghanistan after the relative stability prevailing in that Muslim country. Over the first half of 2002, a number of projects were carried out in 45 countries at a total cost of Dh 14 million. These projects include the building of 81 mosques and 12 schools, in addition to the drilling of 47 wells. The number of orphans sponsored by the RCS inside the UAE and 16 other countries rose to 17,200 by the end of June with their budget amounting to Dh 13,8 million.



The RCS also sponsors orphans in 14 countries besides the UAE. They include Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Somalia, Jordan, Bosnia, Ghana, Indonesia, Albania, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Mongolia and Ethiopia. The sponsoring of 4,645 orphans in those countries cost the RCS about Dh19.6 million.



The efforts for the Palestinian cause also continued with the value of programmes executed in the first six months amounting to Dh148 million. This brings to Dh285 million the total amount spent by the RCS on the various programmes for the Palestinian people since the eruption of the Palestinian uprising "Intifada” in September 2000. The programmes include sending nine plane-loads of relief supplies in recent time, which brings to 25 the number of air-bridge which the RCS conducted to deliver relief assistance to the Palestinians since the beginning of the Intifada.



The programmes also include the establishment of medical centres and hospitals, the distribution of food parcels to the poor and the needy, cash assistance, in addition to the Palestinian Families Sponsorship Project, which the RCS launched in June 2001. Within the short period of establishing the project, the RCS now has on its list 1,200 families from various Palestinian towns and villages under its sponsorship.



Among the vital projects in Palestine, which are under Sheikh Zayed's sponsorship through the RCS are the construction of 800 housing units in Jenin. The Jenin Housing Complex, which will have all the basic amenities and infrastructure like schools, clinics and mosques, will cost US$27 million.



Others include the reconstruction of the old city of Nablus, where 100 housing units are being built. The RCS is also involved in other humanitarian work like the maintenance works and rebuilding of Palestinian houses, destroyed by indiscriminate shelling of Palestinian houses by Israeli forces, in addition to a maintenance work on the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. So far, 24 housing units have been built in the West Bank and eight units have also been built in Gaza, with Dhs10million set aside by the RCS for this programme.



The Organisation has also implemented various charity and humanitarian projects in the Palestinian occupied territories, including the Sheikh Zayed Surgical Hospital in Ramallah, the UAE-Jordanian field hospital, the Sheikha Salama bint Butti Eye Hospital in Nablus, in addition to various kinds of support the RCS is giving to most Palestinian hospitals, clinics and health centres.



The RCS has also built in Jericho the Sheikha Fatima Rehabilitation Centre for the Handicapped. It is also supporting a number of schools and educational institutions, in addition to school-bag- project, in which the RCS distributes school bags to students at the beginning of the academic year. By gaining the membership of the Group of 24, the Donors Forum, the RCS has added another achievement to the numerous ones it already bagged since its establishment.



The organisation has also been appointed to the Group's five-member coordination board and has been mandated to host the Group's annual conference next year in Abu Dhabi, an evidence of appreciation and recognition of the RCS' role in international humanitarian services



The Donors Forum, which plays a major role in providing directly humanitarian assistance to poor and disaster-stricken countries, has as its members organisations from Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan, which are members of the of the Federation of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. The Donor Forum has commended the UAE and its leadership, led by Sheikh Zayed, for the RCS' efforts in providing assistance to the affected people and alleviating the sufferings of victims of both natural and human disasters. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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