One of the hallmarks of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is his advocacy for human dignity, which is most felt in times of international crises and disasters, when the UAE exemplifies its generosity by supporting countries and communities in need.
Early in his administration as the third president, Sheikh Mohamed has drawn up the plan how the UAE will extend a helping hand and build bridges of peace. He said: “Continuing Sheikh Zayed’s approach, we will work to strengthen our role among the world’s leading countries by providing humanitarian aid, and by continuing to extend a helping hand to communities in need around the world, irrespective of religion or race.”
Here, we look back at some of the major contributions of the UAE in international humanitarian work in the past year.
Aid to earthquake-hit Syria and Türkiye
In February this year, a day after a deadly magnitude 7.8 earthquake and several aftershocks hit Syria and Türkiye, the President immediately ordered an aid package totalling $100 million for humanitarian relief. The aid was divided equally between Syria and Türkiye, which both suffered mass casualties and large-scale damages to buildings and infrastructure.
Few days later, Sheikh Mohamed ordered an additional $50 million aid for Syria. As much as $20 million of the additional aid was allocated to implement humanitarian projects in response to the emergency appeal by the United Nations.
The UAE also set up an air-bridge to fly much-needed relief supplies, medical equipment, emergency aid. Sheikh Mohamed likewise ordered the Joint Operations Command of the Ministry of Defence to launch ‘Gallant Knight 2’ operation to provide assistance for the affected peoples of Syria and Türkiye, including the worst-hit areas of Türkiye’s Kahramanmaraş province, near the earthquake epicentre.
A field hospital was set up in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, and another field hospital was established in the Reyhanli area of the Turkish city of Hatay that carried the name ‘Mohamed bin Zayed’.
Relief to quake-hit Afghanistan
In June last year, the UAE President also ordered the immediate creation of an aid air bridge to quake-hit Afghanistan for quick deployment of emergency humanitarian relief, food and medical supplies.
A medical team was also sent, and a makeshift hospital was built to help people in Khost and Paktika provinces in southeastern Afghanistan, following a powerful earthquake that resulted in thousands of casualties.
Help to flood victims
Under the directives of the President, the UAE was among the first countries that helped Pakistan in August last year, following torrential rains and floods that resulted in numerous deaths, injuries and displacements.
Relief teams from the UAE were also dispatched to support institutions in providing food aid, shelter, and medical supplies to those affected by the floods and torrential rains that killed over 1,000 people and displaced thousands more.
Also in August last year, the UAE sent several tonnes of emergency relief to flood-hit Sudanese states of River Nile, Gezira, White Nile, West Kordofan, South Darfur and Kassala. On top of that, Sheikh Mohamed ordered the release of Dh25 million urgent humanitarian aid for the flood victims.
In early January this year, the President of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, expressed his sincere thanks and appreciation to Sheikh Mohamed for UAE’s initiative to establish the Emirates Hospital in Gbarpolu County in Liberia.
The hospital has a capacity of 125 beds and covers an area of 80,000 square metres with all modern facilities. The facility has operating rooms, a modern laboratory, an intensive care unit and various specialised departments. Moreover, the hospital is environment-friendly as it is powered by solar energy.
Back in July last year, Sheikh Mohamed pledged $25 million to Al Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem, to expand its medical supplies services. The 250-bed Makassed Hospital, which was established in 1968, plays a key role in providing healthcare to the Palestinian community, offering a full range of services, including cardiology, orthopaedics, paediatric medicine, and neurology, in addition to providing comprehensive healthcare services. It is also serves as teaching hospital and a research facility.
In October last year, Sheikh Mohamed ordered the provision of additional humanitarian relief aid worth $100 million to Ukrainian civilians affected by the crisis in Ukraine.
“The additional aid comes from the belief of the President of the importance of human solidarity, especially in cases of war and conflict, and is part of the UAE's continuous efforts to mitigate the humanitarian repercussions of the Ukrainian crisis,” Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, earlier said.
Sheikh Mohamed also underscored the UAE's humanitarian approach which entails providing aid to all peoples of the world, stressing the country's support for all initiatives and efforts aimed at reaching a political solution to ensure security, stability and peace.
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