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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Emirates Red Crescent to provide Dh107 million to help rebuild Yemen

Projects include rebuilding roads and equipping thousands of homes with solar power

Yemenis walk through a market in Sanaâ. EPA
Yemenis walk through a market in Sanaâ. EPA

The Emirates Red Crescent is to provide more than Dh107 million to help rebuild roads, schools and hospitals on the west coast of Yemen.

The area, which runs from Bab Al Mandeb to Al Hudaydah, has been largely liberated from Houthi militia control following a ground offensive by the Arab Coalition which began in June.

Mohammed Al Falahi, chairman of the ERC, said the aid would be used to assist more than 7.1 million residents.

Roads, wells and schools would all be rebuilt, he said, and help would be given to farmers and fishermen.

“They [the Houthis] bombed schools and clinics,” Mr Al Falahi said. “They even bombed maternity hospitals and child clinics.”

The ERC has already taken steps to address rebuilding parts of Yemen, now in its third year of conflict.

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The charity has provided funding for six medical facilities and aims to rebuild seven more. More than one million people are expected to benefit once the facilities are operational.

The Western Coast highway, which is more than 140km long, will also be repaired. The road has been bombed extensively by the Houthis, the ERC said.

“The parts that can be used are severely damaged,” said Mr Al Falahi. “People have to drive on the hard shoulder.

“It’s quite difficult for old people or pregnant women because it’s very bumpy and has many holes in it.

“Building a 143km road in a country like Yemen is a huge challenge but the Yemeni people have been quite receptive and welcoming for UAE aid projects.”

Aside from repairing bomb-damaged roads, the ERC also aims to assist low-income families who have lost loved-ones in the fighting.

About 28,000 pupils from 43 schools will benefit from maintenance projects which will include equipping buildings with solar power and science laboratories, as well providing school bags and stationery.

Similarly, more than 15,000 university students will also benefit from new computers on campus.

The Arab Coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE, first intervened in Yemen’s war in 2015 to fight the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels at the request of the internationally recognised government of Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

The UAE’s humanitarian campaign, represented by the ERC, has stepped up operations since 2017. It has already provided 35,000 tonnes of food and supplies, sufficient for two million people for a month.

On Sunday, the ERC said initiatives to help small businesses in the country were also high on their agenda.

More than 20 bakeries will be built plus nearly 30 carpentry, tailor, and blacksmith workshops.

“Today, many homes are deprived of electricity and cold water,” said Fahad Bin Sultan, deputy head of international aid at ERC.

“Marinas and ports also have to be maintained. We will provide fishing boats, nets and other critical equipment that is up to Emirati standards. Thousands of fishermen will be helped.

“The supply of fish has increased, a healthy fish market has been established, and nine marinas have been maintained and are benefiting 2,250 fishermen.”

Programmes designed to educated civilians about the threat of landmines would also be started, added Mr Al Falah.

He said 10 initiatives, including the distribution of videos warning of the dangers of mines, would reach one million people.

“Because of the war it’s necessary to educate people about the risks of mines that were spread. We need to hold educational courses for families on how to deal with mines," he said.

“Yemen is a country with limited resources and we are trying to rebuild infrastructure damaged by the Houthis. We will continue to expand our projects.”