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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

One Emirati's legacy to Yemeni refugees in Oman

Businessman specified his Dh1.5m bequest should be distributed directly to refugees

MUSCAT // An Emirati businessman has left Dh1.5 million in his will to Yemeni refugees living in Oman.

The money was entrusted to a charity based in Muscat. A spokesman for the charity, who spoke in condition of anonymity, said the family of the businessman contacted them last week, with specific instructions.

“It must be distributed in cash to the Yemeni refugees living in Oman so they can send the money home to their families. We are in contact with most of them and we know how worried they are about their families in their country,” the spokesman told The National.

Their benefactor had a property business in Dubai and died during Ramadan. However, "his family asked us not to reveal his name", the spokesman said.

In Islamic countries a donor is usually not identified publicly. Charity should be given in anonymity, either through a trusted agent or directly to the recipients.

Oman does not publicly reveal the number of Yemeni refugees in the country, but government officials say there are about 2,500. Most of them came through the border in Oman’s southern region, Dhofar. The government has put them up in shelters in different parts of the country.

Among them are about 1,200 Yemenis who have been treated for injuries at the Omani government's expense, according to health ministry sources.

The United Nations and the European Union have praised Oman for its assistance to those affected by the conflict in Yemen, which began when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels overran the capital, Sanaa, in September 2014.

Though Oman provides the refugees with free housing and meals, they are not allowed to work. They do odd jobs as restaurant workers, drivers and shop assistants to send cash home to their families but are always at risk of being caught by labour inspectors.

“I have not received the money yet but it will come in handy," said Mubarak Al Kishri, a Yemeni refugee living in Muscat. "I have been here in Oman for nearly two years and my family members there are struggling. The money would help them a lot.”