Kuwait’s humanitarian aid rooted in its history: KRCS

KUWAIT: The humanitarian aid provided by Kuwait has helped save lives across large swathes of the globe, with the recipients being people from different walks of life, irrespective of religion, creed or language. The world celebrates today the ‘World Humanitarian Day’, an initiative launched by the United Nations (UN) to pay homage to aid workers who risk life and limb in humanitarian service, while also to rally support for people affected by crises all over the world. Given the copious amounts of aid Kuwait has given those in need, the UN has named the Gulf state a ‘Humanitarian Center’, and its leader, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, was deservingly christened ‘Humanitarian Leader’.
By virtue of His Highness the Amir’s penchant for altruism, Kuwait has transformed into a huge benefactor of foreign aid, delivering much needed assistance to countries torn apart by conflict, particularly in the wider Arab region. Case in point, Kuwait hosted a trio of major donor conferences for Syrian refugees, where it pledged a sum of $500 million in aid to the war-torn nation on two separate occasions, in January of 2014 and March of 2015, respectively.

Meanwhile, the plight of Palestinians has also been a core concern for Kuwait, as evident by His Highness the Amir’s promulgation of an aid package worth $34 million back in 2009 to support the mission of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In March of the same year, Kuwait donated an amount of $200 million to fund reconstruction efforts in the Gaza Strip, while it sent a convoy of trucks laden with humanitarian aid to the densely populated territory in 2014. Kuwait-based charities also leapt into action when war broke out in impoverished Yemen, launching a myriad of aid campaigns as military operations and the ensuing violence there led to dismal humanitarian conditions.

The comprehensive aid Kuwait has provided Yemen through the works of its charities, such as the venerable Kuwait Red Crescent Society, and civilian organizations, runs the gamut from healthcare and educational assistance to infrastructure repair. War-ravaged Iraq has not been left out as well, having received humanitarian aid from its smaller neighbor on numerous occasions, including an aid package worth $176 million Kuwait pledged back in 2016. More recently, Kuwait hosted an international conference over reconstruction in Iraq last February, a generous initiative that yielded a staggering $30 billion worth of loans and grants to help the country emerge from years of devastating war.

Countries prone to natural disasters have also been the beneficiaries of Kuwaiti aid, chief among them is Bangladesh, which was decimated by Cyclone Sidr in 2007.As a result, Kuwait delivered urgent aid through a donation worth $10 million to the victims of one of the world’s worst natural disasters, in addition to another sum of $250,000 four years later when calamity struck again in Japan in the form of a tsunami. Similarly, when an Ebola outbreak morphed into a global epidemic in 2014, Kuwait donated an amount of $5 million to help the World Health Organization deal with the disaster.

Rooted in history
Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) said yesterday that Kuwait’s humanitarian contribution is not new but rooted in its history and evolving in every era because of residents providing to those who need it in various programs and projects. August 19 marks World Humanitarian Day, where people celebrate humanitarian actions to forswear conflicts that lead to casualties, advocate protection of humanitarian workers and remember those who died during their duty, KRCS’s Secretary-General Maha Al-Barjas said. It is an opportunity to highlight the role of KRCS in society and the international humanitarian movement, by seeking to provide support to the groups that need help, she pointed out.

KRCS provides a variety of services to meet the needs of those affected by crises through a large number of projects ranging from emergency relief to provision of water, food, therapy, education and shelter to help victims of disaster to recover from their normal lives. Barjas expressed the hope that this day would be a catalyst for more volunteers to join the various areas of humanitarian action to increase local and international support for humanitarian organizations.

Aid to the needy
In line with orders by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Kuwait last week continued sending aid to the needy worldwide. The ongoing and regular Kuwaiti relief efforts were of special significance over the past days due to the forthcoming Eid Al-Adha, with Muslim pilgrims packing the holy sites in Saudi Arabia culminating their rituals with livestock sacrifices; dedicated for the poor.

Kuwait Red Crescent Society dispatched 14 truckloads of relief supplies, including 14,000 food parcels, in cooperation with King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, to those in need in the embattled Yemeni province of Hudaydah, in the west of the troubled nation. Kuwait Deputy Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Saud Al-Harbi said in a statement that the relief supplies were sent to Yemen upon instructions by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah to alleviate hardships of the brotherly Yemeni people. It was the first such convoy to be sent by Kuwait to Al-Hudayda. Others would be dispatched to the region soon. Meanwhile, KRCS Vice Chairman Anwar Al-Hasawi reaffirmed the Society’s commitment to continue its humanitarian mission that started in Yemen three years ago. “Today’s aid convoy falls in the framework of cooperation with KSRelief and is in keeping with the results of the GAFC meeting earlier their month where the GCC representatives discussed the needs of the Yemeni people,” he pointed out.

Yemen’s deputy minister of local administration Abdulsalam Ba-Abboud said meanwhile that the food relief targets residents of Al-Tuhayat, Al-Khawkhah and Hays districts in Hudaydah. Ba-Abboud, the deputy supervisor of KSRelief operations Ahmad Al-Biz, and acting head of the GCC mission in Yemen Sarhan Al-Menaykher appreciated Kuwait’s role in alleviating the suffering of the Yemeni people and backing the development projects in Yemen.

Desalination units
Also at discretion of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the State of Kuwait has recently sent four seawater desalination units to Iraq. A technical team of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Electricity and Water delivered the units to officials of the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources at the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border on Monday, the Kuwaiti ministry’s undersecretary Mohammad Bushehri said in a press statement. The production capacity of the four seawater desalination units amounts to one million imperial gallons, he said.

With the approaching advent of the new schooling year, the KRCS distributed 2,000 school bags to low-income families in Kuwait. KRCS Secretary General Maha Al-Barjas said that the help was part of the society broader strategy of aiding families in need for financial support. In the same vein, Abdulmajeed Al-Yahya, director of the World Food Program (WFP) bureau in the UAE and representative at the GCC, met officials of the KRC to examine cooperation for aiding Arabs stricken with crises, He said in a statement to the Kuwaiti news agency that the State of Kuwait has played a leading role in the humanitarian field regionally and internationally.

Yahya, who affirmed the KRCS’ role in improving living conditions for the Palestinians in Gaza, briefed the society officials about emergency needs for Gazans, Syrian refugees in Jordan and the Muslim Rohingya in Bangladesh. Barjas affirmed keenness on broadening cooperation with regional and international organizations to aid the needy and launch humanitarian projects. His Highness the Amir has personally devoted special care for charity throughout the globe. His robust commitment to help the need and poor has earned him the UN designated title, Humanitarian Leader.

Kuwaiti philanthropic associations, namely the KRCS, have been quite active on the global humanitarian arenas, depicting such an approach on part of the political leadership, the government and the people of the Gulf country. The Kuwaiti societies have been particularly active in regional countries, relieving Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, in addition to providing a helping hand to the people of Yemen, Iraq and Palestine. The Kuwaiti charity efforts have reached remote African and Asian nations and regions. – KUNA