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Weekly roundup of Kuwait relief efforts

KUWAIT: Living up to its status as a ‘humanitarian center,’ Kuwait continued offering assistance to needy people in the Middle East and beyond throughout the just-ended week. On Wednesday, the United Iraqi Medical Society for Relief and Development (UIMS) doled out a new batch of food aid provided by Kuwait to displaced Iraqis in Anbar province, west of Iraq. Head of UIMS Dr Ahmad Al-Haity said that the aid was distributed as part of the “Kuwait is by your side” campaign.

The Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) funded the aid and the distribution process was supervised by the Kuwaiti Embassy in Iraq and a body affiliated to the Iraqi Prime Minister, he added. The assistance included 1,000 food packages which were handed out to the displaced in Anbar province, he noted.

The campaign previously distributed a lot of food aid and adopted the construction of schools and healthcare centers for displaced Iraqis in various provinces. On the same day, a Kuwaiti charity said that it would fund the International Committee of the Red Cross’ (ICRC) efforts to fight cholera in Yemen, through equipping the impoverished nation’s water stations with 10 tons of chlorine granules.

Speaking to the press, Director General of the International Islamic Charity Organization (IICO) Bader Al-Sumait said that IICO and ICRC have joined forces to assist the victims of armed conflicts, citing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between both sides.

He also underscored the charity’s eagerness to partner with international organizations, given the dismal humanitarian conditions in large swathes of the globe. Meanwhile, head of ICRC’s Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) delegation Yahya Alibi noted that both sides have worked together for quite some time and that the MoU aims to strengthen ties.

Alibi pointed out that there have been 101 cases of cholera reported in Yemen and that the endemic has claimed the lives of more than 800 people. The MoU also comprises numerous workshops and training courses designed to boost awareness on the guidelines of humanitarian assistance.

Donation drive

On Tuesday, the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) launched a donation drive to grant needy children in Kuwait and Africa access to education. Speaking to the press as the fundraising campaign kicked off at the Avenues Mall, KRCS Chairman Hilal Al-Sayer said that the endeavor encapsulates the Kuwaiti charity’s penchant for altruism, while promoting the merits of volunteerism. He pointed out that it was apropos that the Avenues Mall hosts this campaign, given KRCS’ close rapport with the private sector, which gives philanthropists nationwide the chance to contribute to benevolent deeds.

Meanwhile, Vice President of M H Al-Shaya’s Corporate Communications Hilary Baker said that the company throws its weight behind all efforts to assist children all across the globe, making sure that no child is deprived of inalienable rights, including education.

Baker heaped praise on Kuwait for being a bastion of philanthropy, saying that the company was eager to join forces with KRCS for a noble cause. General Manager of Boubyan Bank, which is sponsoring the donation drive, Waleed Al-Yaqout, said that it was a social obligation for the bank to take part in events organized by a venerable institution such as KRCS.

He added that Boubyan Bank was a proponent of charitable projects that prove beneficial for swathes of people, as he thanked KRCS for its devotion to serve humanity. In Iraq, KRCS delivered on Tuesday its third batch of food aid to needy families in the southern Basra province.

Around 5,000 food baskets will be distributed to impoverished families in the Iraqi province all week long, said Kuwait’s Consul General in Basra Yousef Al-Sabagh in a statement. Meanwhile, Shamlan Abdulrahim, the head of the KRCS delegation in Basra, said that the distribution process is being carried out in collaboration with Iraq’s Red Crescent Society, where 252 families were given access to wholesome food on just the first day alone.

Medical supplies

On Monday, The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced providing necessary medical supplies to a major dialysis unit in Irbil thanks to Kuwaiti financing. The IOM office in the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan said in a statement that in order to fulfill the dire needs of the dialysis unit in Irbil’s Al-Jumhouria Hospital, the organization has provided life-saving supplies, financed by the State of Kuwait. The statement quoted head of the unit Dr Farid Mohammad as saying that thanks to the newly-arrived supplies, they would be able to offer life-saving services to patients for three months to come.

Al-Jumhouria Hospital dialysis unit offers services free of charge to about 100 patients weekly, locals, displaced Iraqis as well as Syrian refugees. Kuwait has presented about $four million to support the IOM efforts to assist the displaced Iraqis from Mosul which is the scene of a military campaign to liberate the city from the control of the so-called Islamic State (IS). The country has also provided $30 million for the UN organizations and agencies for the same noble purposes.

Also on Monday, KRCS provided humanitarian aid to thousands of people affected by Tajikistan’s recent floods and landslides, chairman Hilal Al-Sayer said. The assistance program includes the distribution of food, blankets, bedding and seeds for crops to 5,000 victims across three provinces along the border with Afghanistan, Sayer said. “KRCS is committed to providing this aid according to the highest standards of quality,” he said, describing this role as a “duty.”

Sayer went on to express his appreciation and gratitude to people in Kuwait who provided funds to the humanitarian organization’s various fund raisers. On Sunday, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) hailed the efforts of KRCS in aiding people in need around the world. KRCS is continuously providing humanitarian aid for those affected by war or natural disasters in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Indonesia, Libya, the Philippines and many others, head of IFRC’s office in Dubai Fatma Jeelani said. During her meeting with Al-Sayer, Jeelani lauded the society’s support for IFRC in distributing aid for those in need.

Sayer noted that KRCS is cooperating with different international humanitarian organizations to provide better living conditions for these people. On Saturday, the Kuwait-based Al-Najat Charitable Society continues to hand out food parcels to Syrian families living in several areas across Turkey, said Thamer Al-Seheeb, a senior official at the society.

Speaking in a statement, he added that the move aims to alleviate suffering of Syrians particularly during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. A lot of iftar meals were delivered to Syrian families in the areas of Reyhanli, Kirkikhan, Sanliurfa and others to make those needy people happy, he noted.

The meals cover all family members during Ramadan and the society held other meals for orphans in Kirkikhan, he said, adding that the society supports up to 2,000 Syrian orphans. The society also is keen on educating those orphans to be a scientific and cultural wealth to both the Arab and Islamic world, he said, indicating that there are some schools for Syrian children. – KUNA


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