ABU DHABI, 3rd June, 2018 (WAM) — The value of relief and humanitarian programmes that were implemented due to the directives of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, through the Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, from 1993 to 2003, reached AED1.8 billion, which benefited 21 countries, while its developmental projects, valued at AED595.7 million benefitted Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
Over its history of humanitarian giving, the ERC was supported and patronised by Sheikh Zayed, who made the UAE a leader in charity work and harnessed the country’s resources and his people’s energies to promote giving, protect others from harm and fulfil their needs, and combat hunger, poverty, ignorance and disease.
Under the directives of Sheikh Zayed, the ERC launched relief programmes in 21 countries suffering from disasters and crises, including Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
The value of the ERC’s development projects in Palestine, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which witnessed tragic events during this period, reached AED537.8 million These projects included the reconstruction of the Jenin Camp, under the directives of Sheikh Zayed, as well as the establishment of the Sheikh Zayed Suburb in Jerusalem, the Sheikha Salama Eye Hospital in Nablus, and the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Jerusalem, and the reconstruct of the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Nativity and the launch of the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Ramallah and Sheikh Zayed City in Gaza.
While Iraq suffered from the events of this period, Sheikh Zayed issued clear directives to support the Iraqi people in overcoming their conditions. Based on his directives, many humanitarian programmes and charity and development projects were implemented, costing AED172 million, and the ERC conducted many activities to limit the suffering of the Iraqi people and improve their humanitarian conditions, as the war created a tragedy that affected all Iraqis, especially the women and children, who witnessed the rapid deterioration of their country, where services became non-existent, especially healthcare.
By implementing the directives of Sheikh Zayed, the ERC harnessed its capabilities, crowded its energies, activated its mechanisms and implemented humanitarian programmes that answered the needs of Iraqis and helped ease their tragedy. The ERC’s determination and its programmes and projects enabled it to meet its humanitarian responsibilities, and their various assistance and relief services kept pace with the country’s deteriorating health conditions and the increasing numbers of those wounded, who filled the country’s hospitals that were unable to provide the necessary healthcare, due to the lack of medicine and medical supplies.
Due to these difficulties, Sheik Zayed’s initiatives came at the right time, and he ordered the establishment of the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Baghdad, and equipped seven other Iraqi hospitals – Najaf Hospital, Karbala Hospital, Al Anbar Hospital, Samarra Hospital, Erbil Hospital, Rutbah Hospital, and Ibn Rushd Psychiatric Hospital – with specialist equipment, medicines, and health and medical supplies.
Sheikh Zayed also provided the Iraqi health sector with 12 ambulances, as well as black fever vaccines and medical equipment to detect cholera and malaria in Iraqi hospitals. When the residents of Basra and its neighbouring areas suffered from a lack of clean water, Sheikh Zayed ordered the rapid construction of three water purification plants in Shatt Al Arab, with a daily capacity of 700,000 gallons, which answered the needs of around 300,000 people for clean drinking water.
When the crisis hit the Afghan people, who have suffered from over 20 years of wars and conflicts that tore the fabric of Afghan community and made Afghan families refugees in neighbouring countries, as well as years of poverty and drought during the 1990s that caused the displacement of millions of people to search for food and a better life, Sheikh Zayed realised the size of the disaster and its effects on the Afghan people, especially on women, children and the elderly, so he issued directives to implement humanitarian and developmental programmes that will answer the needs of those aggrieved and improve their deteriorating humanitarian conditions. The ERC, with Sheikh Zayed’s support, immediately performed and is still performing its role in Afghanistan.
The value of its development projects that were launched during this period reached AED22.9 million which included the Sheikh Zayed City Project in Kabul, comprising 200 residences, a mosque and two schools, as well as the establishment of many mosques, the digging of hundreds of wells, the reconstruction of the Afghan Red Crescent Hospital, and the restoration of an orphanage managed by the Afghan Red Crescent.
The ERC’s relief programmes included providing food, clothes and medicine to victims and the homeless, through 41 airlifts that transported various relief materials to Quetta in Pakistan, Mashhad in Iran, and Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan, as well as establishing a camp for Afghan refugees in the Chaman region of Pakistan on its border with Afghanistan. The camp provided over 10,000 refugees with essential services, including shelter, relief, health and education.
The bloody events that took place in the Balkans affected millions of families, who were displaced, torn apart by war and faced many tragedies, which are still fresh in the minds of the region’s people. The UAE was always present and responded first to help refugees in Albania and Bosnia and support victims of the humanitarian disaster. Under the directives of Sheikh Zayed, the ERC launched a humanitarian programme to provide aid to the Kosovan people and recruited volunteers, workers and its members to assist Kosovans, ease their suffering, and help refugees in camps that are full of misery and hardship. The ERC’s assistance included thousands of tonnes of food and basic supplies, as well as shelter materials, such as tents, blankets, covers and clothes, which helped children, women and the elderly in the camps.
Under the directives of Sheikh Zayed, the ERC launched a relief programme to support Kosovan refugees, which included 83 aircraft that transported relief materials. It also opened an office in Gjakova, which provided for the needs of 56,000 people local residents and distributed relief materials to the residents of the neighbouring cities of Deçan, Peya, Mitrovica, and Pediva, as well as the capital, Pri?tina. The ERC then moved its office to Vushtrri, where its humanitarian services assisted orphans, the disabled, poor families, the families of missing people, and various ethnic minorities.
Kosovo witnessed the destruction of homes, possessions and all types of infrastructure, and after the ERC completed its relief programmes that helped to return stability, the second stage of its initiative began which the reconstruction of the homes of returning families, which enabled them to enjoy stability and a dignified life. In September 1999, the ERC launched a construction project that included over 15 cities and villages in various parts of Kosovo, which saw the reconstruction of 382 houses over three months.
The “White Hands Force” of the Armed Forces cooperated with the ERC to establish the Cox Refugee Camp in Kosovo on 13th April, 1999, which included 520 tents and had the capacity of 10,000 refugees, the first batch of whom were received on 27th April of the same year. The camp provided essential services, such as water and electricity, and a school was established that accommodated 2,000 children who were provided with school supplies, and 70 Kosovan teachers were appointed with monthly salaries. The camp also housed a field hospital with a capacity of 200 beds and essential medical supplies.
During his visit to Cox Camp on 20th May, 1999, Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations, UN, stated that Sheikh Zayed was a leading international leader, due to his brave actions to support Arab and international causes. “The Sheikh Zayed Airport, established by the UAE, is the best assistance offered by any country since the start of the Kosovo crisis, and it has helped to transport assistance and relief aid. If not for the airport, UN aircraft could not have taken off or landed,” Annan said.
Under the directives of Sheikh Zayed, the ERC undertook relief programmes worth AED39.4 million in Jordan; AED12.9 million in Algeria; AED51.3 million in Sudan; AED110.2 million in Somalia; AED58.1 million in Iraq;AED18.9 million in Morocco; AED110.4 million in Yemen;AED106.7 million in Afghanistan;AED117.9 million in Indonesia; AED53.8 million in Pakistan;AED6.5 million in Bangladesh; AED9.1 million in Tanzania; AED4.8 million in Djibouti; AED32 million in Sri Lanka; AED12.5 million in Syria; AED43.6 million in Ghana; AED141.3 million in Lebanon; AED15.6 million in Mauritania; AED80.6 million in Kosovo and AED102.5 million in Bosnia.