http://almashareq.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_am/features/2019/01/02/feature-01

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Emirati Red Crescent helps to stabilise Yemen

Yemenis drop off boxes of humanitarian aid provided by the Emirati Red Crescent in the coastal town of Mujailis, south of al-Hodeidah city, on June 6th. [Nabil Hassan/AFP]

Through its provision of food, relief aid and funding, the Emirati Red Crescent (ERC) has been a key source of stability in provinces liberated from the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) and al-Qaeda, Yemeni officials told Al-Mashareq.

The ERC has been supporting health, education and infrastructure in these provinces, providing direct aid and working with local organisations, they said.

"The ERC is the primary development partner in Hadramaut," Hadramaut deputy governor for youth affairs Fahmi Badawi told Al-Mashareq.

Since al-Qaeda was ousted from the province in April 2016, the Red Crescent has been instrumental in supplying humanitarian and food aid, supporting the health and education sectors and improving services, he said.

The ERC has paid for drinking water wells to be drilled in rural areas, and has supplied some areas with electricity generators, he said, noting that this vital assistance has led to "improved living conditions".

It also has sponsored group weddings to help low-income youth who would otherwise struggle to pay for them.

"The Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, has had an active role in both liberating [Houthi-held areas] and providing humanitarian relief and food aid, especially in the wake of Tropical Storm Luban that hit the province in October," Badawi said.

The ERC distributed more than 25,000 food baskets and basic items to the residents of liberated Hadramaut cities and districts in 2018, benefitting more than 175,000 Yemenis, the Emirati news agency (WAM) reported.

Helping the displaced return

"The Arab coalition countries’ intervention in Yemen and subsequent developmental and relief support have induced many internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to their areas on the west coast after their liberation from the Houthi militias," said deputy al-Hodeidah governor Walid al-Qadimi.

Through the UAE's Saqia initiative, which seeks to provide potable water to five million people in countries that suffer from a shortfall in water resources, the ERC has dug 23 artesian wells in areas along Yemen's west coast, he told Al-Mashareq.

The wells supply drinking water to the areas between Khokha and the village of al-Munther, and "are helping alleviate the difficult conditions faced by the inhabitants of those coastal areas", he said.

"The ERC’s contributions in the education sector in the Sahel (coastal) areas have led to the return of many students to school," al-Qadimi said.

The organisation has re-opened 15 schools on the Red Sea coast since the beginning of 2018, after repairing them and equipping them with school furniture and supplies, he said.

As a result of these actions, 12,000 students who had been out of school for three years have been able to resume their education, WAM reported on November 26th.

"The efforts of Arab coalition countries contributed to the liberation of the west coast region," he said, adding that the subsequent relief provided helped "restore stability to those areas".

Empowering women, supporting education

The ERC also provided support to the colleges of Education and Petroleum in Shabwa province as part of the support provided to the higher education sector.

"The ERC built two lecture halls at the [College of Petroleum] and put an end to the lack of on-campus lecture halls for the students who had to go to rented halls away from the faculty," said college dean Mohammed al-Mutahari.

It also provided laptop computers, he told Al-Mashareq, adding that the College of Petroleum has submitted a new list of needs for the labs of the petroleum and geologic engineering departments.

The ERC has been supporting the empowerment of women in Shabwa by "providing support to the Women Development Association in various areas", said Women Development Association president Fatima Faraj.

This has helped to integrate women into the labour market by providing them with training, which enables them to provide for their families, she told Al-Mashareq.

"The ERC equipped the association with a computer lab and workshops for sewing, hairdressing and housekeeping," she said.

"The association is taking in 20 trainees for these fields every month and has started the first course in all four fields," Faraj added, noting it will continue holding these courses in 2019.

"These courses will open a wide door to developing the capabilities of women and helping acquire new skills that enable them to enter the labour market," she said.

This will help them to earn an income and overcome the financial hardships they are experiencing as a result of the war, she added.

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