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UAE’s global humanitarian footprint: A legacy of giving in 2024

UAE’s global humanitarian footprint: A legacy of giving in 2024
2 Apr 2024 09:40

ISIDORA CIRIC (ABU DHABI)

In the first quarter of 2024, the UAE has once again solidified its position as a leading nation in global humanitarian efforts, touching the lives of over 2 million people in almost 50 countries through a broad spectrum of aid that includes housing, medical assistance, food distribution, and educational support.

The diversity and scale of these efforts align with the nation’s long-standing tradition of solidarity with disaster-stricken and underprivileged communities globally, following the legacy of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The recent launch of the Zayed Humanitarian Legacy Initiative, announced by President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on March 29, further sets the humanitarian tone for the year 2024, highlighting the nation’s giving spirit.

The Dh20-billion initiative, established in honour of the UAE’s Founding Father, will support diverse humanitarian projects across the globe, aiming to significantly contribute to poverty alleviation, healthcare improvement, education enhancement, and crisis recovery in underprivileged communities, thereby fostering global peace, stability, and prosperity.

Through the initiatives led by the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) and other Emirati humanitarian organisations like the Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable & Humanitarian Foundation and the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, the UAE has impacted lives in Gaza, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Chad, Jordan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Ukraine, and Burkina Faso, among others.

Gaza


In Gaza, the UAE, in collaboration with Egypt, has delivered 21 airdrops of humanitarian aid through the “Birds of Goodness” operation, delivering 1,071 tonnes of assistance since the beginning of the operation on February 29.

Through the “Gallant Knight 3” humanitarian operation, established upon the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on November 5, the UAE has facilitated a wide range of support efforts since the beginning of 2024, expanding its outreach and humanitarian assistance across various sectors.

Between January and April 2024, the UAE welcomed 7 groups of wounded Palestinian children and cancer patients, facilitating high-quality care and treatment in Emirati hospitals; sent over 35 trucks carrying over 300 tonnes of aid and 1.65 million winter clothing items; sailed 3 ships collectively carrying over 10,000 tonnes of assistance; sent 10 fully-equipped ambulances; completed psychological relief and recreational competitions programme for displaced children at Al Qadisiyah school in Rafah; delivered 5 automatic bakeries producing approximately 15,000 loaves of bread per hour, and allocated $5 million to support the efforts UNRWA and the work of Sigrid Kaag, the United Nations Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, among other efforts.

The ERC allocated Dh3 million to purchase supplies like rice, wheat, sugar, beans, and other essentials to help operate 28 public kitchens and 10 bakeries in Gaza during Ramadan.

Moreover, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives in February provided a $11.7 million contribution to the World Food Programme in the form of direct food aid, benefitting over 1 million people in Gaza.

Yemen

The UAE has been significantly active in Yemen since January 2024, spearheading various humanitarian campaigns and initiatives through the ERC and other organisations. These efforts have spanned multiple sectors, addressing immediate needs and fostering long-term resilience among affected communities.

One of the key campaigns, which concluded on February 28 and reached 6,612 students in remote and mountainous areas, focused on distributing winter clothing, blankets, and food supplies, providing essential relief against the cold for residents in Hadhramaut highlands. Another noteworthy project was the Al-Khair Medical Week Camp in Mukalla, launched on March 19, which delivered critical healthcare services and supplies to over 1,000 beneficiaries.

This camp was part of a broader strategy to enhance healthcare infrastructure and access in Yemen, reflecting the UAE’s commitment to improving health outcomes in crisis-hit regions.

As part of its Ramadan Project 2024, the ERC also delivered 1,122 food parcels to patients with cancer, thalassemia, and kidney failure in Mukalla, as well as to needy families in Hadramaut Governorate, Yemen, benefitting a total of 4,822 individuals.

Syria

Since the beginning of 2024, the ERC has opened 300 housing units in Latakia, Syria, as part of a larger operation to provide shelter and restore dignity to families displaced by last year’s earthquake. Additionally, on January 25, the ERC team engaged in distributing essential aid, such as food supplies, winter apparel, and blankets, as part of the “Be Their Warmth” campaign.

In late February, the ERC team welcomed a relief vessel in Syria, which was laden with 196 tonnes of medical equipment and supplies. This delivery also included several buses and an aircraft filled with medical aids and medicines, aimed at bolstering the Syrian government and healthcare institutions.

Iraq

In February, the ERC also extended its humanitarian efforts to Kurdistan, Iraq, aiming to alleviate the winter’s harsh impacts on people in the region. Through its intervention in northern Iraq, particularly in Erbil and adjacent provinces, the ERC has provided essential winter aid to approximately 10,000 individuals residing in camps.

The assistance package includes crucial winter items like heating devices, blankets, clothing, children’s supplies, and food parcels, aiming to shield beneficiaries from severe cold, low temperatures, and the spread of winter-related illnesses, with a particular focus on children’s well-being.

Chad

In the first quarter of 2024, the UAE has significantly bolstered its humanitarian operations in Chad through various impactful campaigns and efforts spearheaded by the ERC, Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable & Humanitarian Foundation, and the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation.

The UAE has made significant contributions to food security and support during the holy month of Ramadan, sending 172 tonnes of aid containing 6,000 Ramadan baskets and relief supplies to aid 500 families, as part of a broader effort to ensure that the local community and Sudanese refugees in Chad have access to necessary sustenance during this important time.

The Ramadan baskets included household essentials like dates, rice, flour, sugar, oils, grains, and baby milk. Moreover, the UAE humanitarian team in Amdjarass organised a Quran distribution campaign that delivered 5,000 copies of the Holy Quran to the city’s mosques, homes, and Quran memorisation centres before the start of Ramadan.

Additional Efforts

The ERC launched its seasonal Ramadan campaign titled “Ramadan Continuous Giving”, which will benefit 1.8 million people in the UAE and 44 countries across the globe, worth approximately Dh37.6 million.

In Jordan, the ERC has focused on supporting Syrian refugees and underprivileged local communities through the distribution of Ramadan meals and hosting of iftar gatherings throughout March. Around 1,226 families within the Emirati-Jordanian refugee camp in Mrajeeb Al Fhood, as well as 60 families in temporary tents outside the camp, benefitted from these initiatives.

Additionally, the UAE Relief Team’s medical personnel carried out a free health campaign, providing health check-ups and supplying medicine to needy families.

The generous Ramadan programme was also extended to Indonesia. Following the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the ERC, the ERC announced on March 10 that it would provide 10,000 daily Iftar meals during the holy month of Ramadan to the fasting individuals at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the Indonesian city of Solo.

On March 15, the ERC also initiated a Ramadan project in Pakistan, distributing 8,500 Iftar meals in the Sindh province since the start of the programme and 5,500 meals and 800 food parcels in the Balochistan province, covering the areas of Pasni, Gwadar, and Panjgur.

The continuation of a Ramadan food parcel project in Burkina Faso this year, benefitting 1,250 individuals, marks the UAE’s dedication to addressing hunger and promoting solidarity with communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region often hit hard by food insecurity.

Other than the ERC, additional Emirati humanitarian organisations participated in extensive global efforts to help the communities in need. In February, The Zayed Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation announced the distribution of 20,000 winter kits to 13 countries around the world, including Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Chad, Ethiopia, Kosovo, Albania, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Moreover, Sharjah Charity International has also organised a Ramadan Iftar project, reaching over 250,000 individuals across 43 countries. Some of the beneficiaries included people in Egypt (20,000), Bahrain (10,000), Ethiopia (6,000), India (15,000), Malawi (7,000), Jordan (4,000), Bosnia (5,000), Pakistan (4,000), Afghanistan (4,000), Morocco (4,000), and Brazil (2,000).

Also in February, the UAE sent 55 tonnes of aid to Ukraine, comprising 360 portable electric generators, 5,000 personal laptops for educational purposes, winter clothes, blankets, and medical aid.

At the beginning of 2024, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that the UAE is “one of the largest donors in foreign aid compared to its national income”.

Over the past five decades, the UAE has provided aid to over 190 countries, worth $95.06 billion, while in 2023 alone, the value of the provided aid reached $1.83 billion. In recognition of its substantial contributions, the UAE consistently ranks among the top countries for international aid, a testament to its commitment to helping others in need.

The Soft Power Index, released earlier this year, ranked the UAE in 3rd place globally in the ‘Generous’ indicator, showcasing its unwavering dedication to humanitarian causes.

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