UAE officially asks to postpone Expo 2020 Dubai

The event is due to be held in October but organizers have requested a one-year postponement. (Expo 2020 Dubai)
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Updated 04 April 2020

UAE officially asks to postpone Expo 2020 Dubai

  • Dubai had hoped to attract some 25 million visits to the multi-billion-dollar, six-month event

DUBAI: The UAE has officially requested to postpone the start of the Expo 2020 Dubai until October next year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the body that oversees the world fair said Saturday.
Dubai had hoped to attract some 25 million visits to the multi-billion-dollar, six-month event, which was scheduled to launch October 20 this year.
“The government of the United Arab Emirates has formally requested the postponement of World Expo 2020 Dubai,” the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions said in a statement.
“Following consultations with the BIE, participating countries and key stakeholders, the UAE has proposed 1 October 2021 — 31 March 2022 as the new opening dates of Expo 2020 Dubai.”
The UAE government also requested approval to continue using Expo 2020 Dubai as the event’s official name.
The BIE said it would hold a virtual meeting on April 21 to discuss “options for a change of dates.”
“The request of the UAE government has been sent following in-depth discussions by the Expo 2020 Dubai steering committee with the organizer and the BIE on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the statement.
“A final decision on a change of dates can only be made by a two-thirds majority vote of BIE member states.”
Dubai, known for hosting hundreds of conferences annually, has already scrapped a string of cultural and entertainment events in recent weeks over the spread of the deadly disease.
Expo 2020 organizers said on Monday they had recommended a one-year postponement due to the pandemic.
“Many countries have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and they have therefore expressed a need to postpone the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai by one year,” Expo 2020 Dubai director-general Reem Al-Hashimi said in a statement.
“The UAE and Expo 2020 Dubai have listened. And in the spirit of solidarity and unity, we supported the proposal to explore a one-year postponement.”
The UAE has reported 1,505 COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths. It has enforced extensive lockdown measures to curb the spread of the disease including an ongoing nighttime curfew.


UN officials appeal for Yemen funding amid pandemic

Updated 31 min 1 sec ago

UN officials appeal for Yemen funding amid pandemic

  • The United Nations says COVID-19 has likely already spread throughout most of Yemen
  • UN officials: What we don’t have is the money. We ask donors to pledge generously and pay pledges promptly

UNITED NATIONS, United States: Top officials from several UN agencies appealed Thursday for urgent international financial support in Yemen with coronavirus spreading in the war-torn country.
“We are increasingly alarmed about the situation in Yemen,” officials from the UN Humanitarian Affairs Department, UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement.
“We are running out of time,” they said.
The United Nations says COVID-19 has likely already spread throughout most of Yemen, which was already immersed in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis because of a war that shows no sign of abating.
The UN officials said they currently have enough “skills, staff and capacity.”
“What we don’t have is the money. We ask donors to pledge generously and pay pledges promptly,” they said, noting that a donors conference has been organized for June 2 by Saudi Arabia and the United Nations.
Mark Lowcock, the under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said $2.4 billion needed to be raised by the end of the year for Yemen, including $180 million to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Yemen is in desperate need of assistance,” Muhannad Hadi of the World Food Programme said, while UNICEF’s director, Henriette Fore, warned of a “major disaster.”
More than 12 million children in Yemen are in need of humanitarian aid, she said.
Before the pandemic, two million children lacked schools. Another five million have since been forced to quit school, she said.
Officially, 50 people have died from the new coronavirus in Yemen and infections have been reported in 10 of country’s 22 governorates.
“But testing and reporting remain limited and it is likely that most areas of the country are already impacted, if not all,” the United Nations reports.
Yemen has been engulfed in war since 2014 between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who control several regions including the capital Sanaa, and the government backed by a coalition led since 2015 by Saudi Arabia.