Saudi aid agency signs 16 deals to combat blindness worldwide

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In Aside from providing food, clothing and other basic goods to refugees, KSRelief also sends specialists to perform medical surgeries for various illnesses in communities that usually have no access to doctors. (SPA)
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Aside from providing food, clothing and other basic goods to refugees, KSRelief also sends specialists to perform medical surgeries for various illnesses in communities that usually have no access to doctors. (SPA)
Updated 19 September 2019

Saudi aid agency signs 16 deals to combat blindness worldwide

DAMMAM: Saudi Arabia has signed a raft of deals with an international health charity aimed at combating blindness in seven countries around the world, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) inked 16 agreements with Al-Basar International Foundation to implement medical programs in Bangladesh, Yemen, Cameroon, Nigeria, Morocco, Eritrea and Pakistan.

Dr. Aqeel bin Jamaan Al-Ghamdi, KSRelief’s assistant general supervisor of planning and development affairs, signed the accord with the foundation’s secretary-general, Dr. Adel bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rashoud.

Al-Ghamdi said the campaigns to prevent blindness and diseases would involve medical checks on 100,000 cases, 10,000 vision-related operations, and the distribution of 20,000 medical glasses by the end of this year.

Saudi Arabia has spent $87 billion (SR326 billion) on humanitarian aid to 81 countries over two decades. According to a KSRelief report, more than 1,011 humanitarian aid programs worth $3.5 billion have benefitted 44 countries, primarily Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Iraq, since 2014.

Recently, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock announced that Saudi Arabia would be contributing $500 million to the world body next week to help fund its humanitarian response in Yemen. Lowcock said the Kingdom planned to pay on Sept. 25 and that the UAE had also recently made a payment of $200 million.

HIGHLIGHT

The campaigns to prevent blindness and diseases would involve medical checks on 100,000 cases, 10,000 vision-related operations, and the distribution of 20,000 medical glasses by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the center is carrying out several humanitarian projects in Syria and Yemen, which includes provision of food, health care, vocational training and education.

KSRelief allocated 132 cartons containing food baskets to the needy in Socotra, the Yemen archipelago, benefiting 116 families, in addition to 80 food baskets for 400 people in Saada governorate’s Al-Atif.

A total of 1,432 food baskets were also handed out in the Al-Wafa, Al-Baidar, Al-Rajab, Al-Zaalanah, Al-Taliya, Al-Fardan, Sabiroun, and Benin camps in Syria and many other informal settlements in Saraqib, Sarmin, Maarat Misrin and Salqin, benefiting 8,730 people.

In addition, the center distributed 367 cartons of food baskets in Marib governorate, Yemen, in coordination with the Benevolence Coalition for Humanitarian Relief, helping 900 displaced people.

This comes within the framework of the food projects provided by the Kingdom and represented by the centers for the Yemeni and Syrian peoples during the current humanitarian crisis.


US diplomat: Kashmir human rights a concern for Washington

Updated 10 min 6 sec ago

US diplomat: Kashmir human rights a concern for Washington

  • Statement comes ahead of a congressional hearing in Washington on human rights in South Asia
  • Indian government imposed security lockdown and communications blackout in Kashmir, detaining thousands, after abolishing the valley’s special status 

NEW DELHI: The Trump administration remains concerned about the ongoing crackdown in Indian-administered Kashmir, the restive Himalayan region stripped of its special constitutional status in August, but supports India’s development “objectives” there, a US diplomat said in a statement Tuesday ahead of a congressional hearing in Washington.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells said the US State Department has encouraged India to restore phone and Internet access and release detainees in the region. After India’s Parliament voted to remove a constitutional provision that gave Kashmiris semi-autonomy and a right to their own constitution, flag, and land, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imposed a security lockdown and communications blackout. Thousands of people were detained.
Some phone connectivity has been restored, but Internet services remain down.
The US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation are meeting Tuesday on human rights in South Asia. The subcommittee’s chairman, Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California, has said the focus will be on Kashmir, where life has been disrupted for nearly 8 million people.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed concern about human rights in Kashmir in recent months. Earlier this month, Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland told reporters in New Delhi that he and other members of a US delegation to India were not blocked by the Indian government from visiting Kashmir.
In the statement, Wells also said that direct dialogue between India and Pakistan held the most potential for reducing regional tensions. The archrival countries each administer a portion of Kashmir, but both claim the region in its entirety.
Wells called out Pakistan for its “continued support of extremist groups that engage in cross-border terrorism.”
In July, President Donald Trump said that he offered to mediate India-Pakistan talks on Kashmir. India’s foreign minister has repeatedly denied the claim.
“The tenor of the Kashmir discussion in the US is something that India will be looking at closely,” said Brahma Chellaney, a professor at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research.
The House hearing on Tuesday will also take up a citizen registry effort in northeast India that has placed the legal status of about 2 million people in limbo, as well as human rights issues in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, according to Sherman’s office.