UAE’s humanitarian role in Yemen: Principles and Features

UAE’s humanitarian role in Yemen: Principles and Features

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The role of the United Arab Emirates  in Yemen is not confined on the military side, which aims to defend the constitutional legitimacy  in the country within the two operations of  “Decisive storm” and then  the “Restore of Hope”, led by Saudi Arabia, but there is a strong  Emirati humanitarian role  represents an extension of its role and   humanitarian commitment towards the people of Yemen, through the efforts of   providing  relief to the  affected Yemeni people, in the field of health, education, nutrition and clothing, and reconstruction. The UAE  was in the forefront of countries who hurried to send relief and assist Yemen to rid over the current crisis, support its stability and unity and stand with its people by providing all forms of assistance needed to realize and fulfill the aspirations of Yemeni people for building, development and stability .this is one of the basic pillars of the UAE’s foreign policy under the directives of the President, Sheikh Khalifa Mohammad bin Rashid , and Sheikh Mohammad bin Zaid , Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the armed forces, as they continue the humanitarian legacy of the UAE’S Founding President Sheikh Zaid .

The UAE has done much more than expected in helping Yemen   to fight the Houthis. Sending the aid shows the brotherly ties.

The UAE has emerged remarkably in the last period of its active contribution  in supporting Yemen’s efforts on several fronts, and  while the media machine would prefer to follow the bustle of the war and the noise of military operations in the war of restoration of the legitimate authorities and the face of pro-Iranian regime Houthi group , there are greater efforts being made on the human level  and  other operations less  noise but more  impact and influential  ,  those are related  to  plans for the reconstruction of Yemen, and  bring back  the  “delight” to it .

Supporting Yemen is one of the constants of UAE’s policy, which stands  to the side of Arab brothers, helping them to overcome the difficult conditions they face, and since the operation of   decisive storm , which was launched in the twenty-sixth of the month of March 2015, against the  rebellion  Houthi  group, to restore  the legitimacy  in Yemen, which the UAE has taken part in a clear military effort , the UAE revealed about  its support for Yemen at all levels, especially the humanitarian aspect to help the Yemeni people to overcome the challenges left by the military confrontations with the  Huthi rebels and the forces of the isolated Ali Abdullah Saleh . And  the UAE support to Yemen brother  was  based on  several principles and foundations, most notably:

  1. Emirates fixed principles in support of the rightness, and defend it laid by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, mercy of Allah upon him and   His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan  took it sincerely  in the same path , the  principles that have made the UAE, the testimony of history,  a good support and supportive to the brothers and friends around the world in the face of the challenges and crisis they face .  His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme commander of the armed forces reaffirmed, during a meeting in Abu Dhabi in August  2016, to Dr. Ahmed Obaid Ben Dugger, Prime Minister of the Republic of Yemen,  the stance of the United Arab Emirates, led by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State, may God protect him,  along with the Yemeni people; to be able to bypass security and economic challenges experienced by it , and achieve the national aspirations  to rebuild what was destroyed by the rebels.

2.To support  the political and constitutional legitimacy   , represented by Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi , so that security  and overall stability returns to Yemen, this  is consistent and authentic principle embodied in  in the UAE’s foreign policy  stems from the support of the international legitimacy and peace in various regions of the world; in this context , His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubi  in the month of August / August 2015 expressed the hope that civil peace and stability to return to the Republic of Yemen under the illegitimate leadership and the government .

And  His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan  reaffirmed this sense, during a meeting with His Highness in  sea Palace in Abu Dhabi  a delegation of leaders of the resistance in the city of Aden, Yemen, in December / 2015 who came to give thanks to the UAE, the leadership and people of historical stance  along with rightness and justice and support to their brothers in Yemen and in support of their aspirations for stability, security and development, where he confirmed the firm stance  of the United Arab Emirates , under the leadership of His Highness the Head of State, may God protect him, who  stands always and  forever with the Yemeni people and the national will  , and is biased to the legitimacy that it represents. In this context, the UAE stands strongly with the Arab countries in the face of the challenges faced by all. And it was one of the first Arab countries that responded to the call of the Yemeni people, and to join the Arab coalition in order to save Yemen and stop the aggression it suffered at the hands of rebels and supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

  1. To support Yemen’s security and stability , when the United Arab Emirates participated in the Arab coalition in the process of « decisive storm » in Yemen in  March 2015, as it aimed at the return of security and stability to Yemen and its people, and put an end to the threats directed to the region, noting that the  Emirates  has given  constellation of  martyrs of the brave soldiers, who have lost the most precious thing they have for the sake of  Yemeni people, and the restoration of stability and security across Yemen after it was  wreaked  by corrupt saboteurs and insurgents . And when it was declared the process  of «Restore of Hope» in April 2015, the United Arab Emirates supported this process , and in particular that it considers it  like a road map for the future of Yemen, including various  political, security, economic and humanitarian dimensions, whether  in terms of the resumption of the political process, in accordance with Security Council Resolution ( 2216), and the initiative Gulf, and outputs of a comprehensive national dialogue, protection of civilians, or  to intensify relief and medical assistance in the affected areas, and to allow the international efforts to provide humanitarian and relief and assistance to the Yemeni people.
  1. Support the political process to resolve the crisis, according to the basic terms of references, whether the Security Council resolution (2216), or the Gulf initiative, and outputs of a comprehensive national dialogue, and actually the Emirates supported the International efforts by the UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, in order to reach Yemeni political settlement to end the crisis and end the suffering of the Yemeni people.In this context, the  confirmation of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister came during his meeting with Ould Cheikh Ahmed in January 2016 that “the UAE will spare no effort to provide all that would alleviate the repercussions of the events in Yemen on the lives of the Yemeni people ,., by the coalition led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to support the legitimacy in Yemen “
  1. The need to take action to alleviate the suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people through the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the provinces and cities of Yemen experiencing a deterioration in living conditions and a shortage of relief materials, a work that is as important as the participation of the valiant UAE Armed Forces in the military effort in the framework of the “Arab alliance” led by Saudi Arabia, to liberate the provinces controlled by forces opposed to the legitimacy, represented by the Houthis and the agents of the deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh, lifting the siege on the Yemeni provinces that are exposed to daily random shelling continuously targeting civilians. So the United Arab Emirates   was the first countries which rushed to the aid of Yemen and help it in its ordeal, and provide various aspects of support in order to realize their hopes and aspirations for the construction, development and stability within an integrated vision of moving to a balanced paths of development, economic, political, social and humanitarian. We wonder here about the nature and characteristics of the UAE humanitarian role in Yemen?

Since the beginning of events taking place in Yemen, especially during the past three years, and the UAE leadership directed the competent authorities in the State to provide all help and assistance to the Yemeni people,  the UAE was one of the first countries that responded to the humanitarian appeal of the Yemeni people to bypass  the economic and political  and social ordeal .

When the United Nations launched an appeal to raise $ 2.1 billion to provide food and other essential assistance needed by the 12 million people in Yemen, which is facing the threat of famine, UAE was at the forefront of supporting  countries,  that the size of humanitarian aid provided by the UAE’s response to the humanitarian crisis suffered by the Yemenis  – since the start of crisis  reached about 744 million dirhams , the equivalent of «202 million US dollars», up to and including the month of/ August 2015.

The size of the UAE aid during 2015 to Yemen amounted to 430 million dirhams, of which about 190 million dirhams to save fuel and electric power, and about AED 110 million of aid and food, along with 80 million dirhams medical aid, and AED 30 million for water supply and sanitation, and 20 million dirhams for a variety of relief materials.

And  Emirati state established an airlift and sea to transport urgent food and medical relief supplies  beside the infrastructure support to accommodate those affected by the events and natural conditions, and rebuild what has been destroyed by war in Yemen, while UN reports  classified the UAE as the first globally in terms of providing humanitarian aid to Yemen. UAE’s humanitarian role in Yemen is not limited only to the aid of food and medicines, but also goes out to help Yemen in the rebuilding and reconstruction of the legacy of war, within an integrated vision of moving to balanced paths of development, economic, political, social and humanitarian. This role is clearly defined after the restoration of Aden. Where the focus was on the supply of the city and surrounding areas with all the urgent needs of Yemenis, even the Aden has become  a centre  to the distribution of humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people.

The number of Yemenis beneficiaries of food aid provided by the State to about million and 100000 thousand people from the Yemeni people and  the amount of aid estimated by about 29 thousand tons, while  the value of  UAE’s aid has been reached  since the start of the crisis in the energy and provide electricity  and repair the damage of the construction and networks the supply of electric power necessary for the continuation of the living for the members of the Yemeni people for about 314 million dirhams, while the total value of immediate Emirati food aid   amounted to about 188 million dirhams, including cereals, oils and conserved food and other food supplies. The emergency medical assistance and medicines estimated worth about 122 million dirhams and aids of services of support and coordination to 46 million dirhams  and the value of   Emirati aid   to provide clean water and sanitation services, drinking water estimated about 41 million dirhams and aid of fuel to 14 million dirhams, in addition to a variety of relief materials worth 12 million AED and the transport sector by about seven million dirhams.

Emirati state  contributed to  provide aids through charities in the country, including: the UAE Red Crescent(ERC), and the  Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation for humanitarian action,  the  Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charatible  and Humanitarian Establishement, in addition of  institutions of «Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan for Charitable and Humanitarian  works» and «Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan  for humanitarian and scientific works », and « watering Emirates Foundation», and al-Rahma for the charity, and the house of Sharjah charitable, and other organizations and associations  of humanitarian state. Where the Red Crescent is working on the renovation of 154 schools in the province of Yemen, among the projects of contribution to the reconstruction of infrastructure, especially in health, education, electricity and water sectors, as an important key sectors of the Yemeni people. More than 123 schools in the southern governorate have been handed over  after the rehabilitation and furnishing  it with full  office equipment and  furniture  for  educational cadre   to receive students who enrolled in their classrooms in various stages of education at the level of the schools of the governorate of Aden  and its directorates.

In the health sector, the state of Emirates was keen to rehabilitate and develop many of the hospitals affected by the clashes, and the Red Crescent Authority of UAE pledged to the maintenance and rehabilitation of about 14 health institutions including five large hospitals and nine clinics which in various Aden areas, at a total cost of $ 48 million and 500 thousand dirhams . And the body  allocated  four million dirhams as a  primary payment for the purchase of therapeutic drugs for cancer and kidney dialysis, in addition to other medical supplies as well as the amount of five million dirhams for the purchase of ambulances and the transfer of medicines and transport vehicles. Emirates Hospitals received a large number of Yemenis wounded for treatment.

And  the UAE development aid included  during the period from April 2015 to July 2016, grants  of  210.1 million dirhams (57.2 million US dollars) to support the health sector in Yemen, this aid included the building and reconstruction of the infrastructure of health facilities. And it worked on the maintenance and renovation of 17 centers and clinics, including nine health centers in the provinces of Hadramout, Marib and Maherah and Taiz. And the share of the Yemeni education sector of the total aid reached to 160.1 million dirhams. And   part of this aid was employed for the rebuilding and maintenance of 212 schools, including 144 schools in the province of Aden, and 18 schools in the Hajj, and 18 other schools in the Aldhala . UAE  has committed  to support the water and sanitation sector in Yemen, as well as to start implementing the project  of Sheikha Fatima  to  build 150 small dam for watering.

In the energy sector, the United Arab Emirates is making unremitting efforts to implement many of the projects for the restoration and operation of power plants and distribution networks, in order to end the crisis in power outages in the province. And it was allocated 800.7 million dirhams (218 million US dollars) to support the energy and power sector, as the UAE undertook to pay operating expenses for electric power generation and power supply services. And the UAE provided 466.1 million Dirham to support Yemen’s transport sector, providing civilian cars for transport mechanisms, and vehicles to transport water and fuel.

And the United Arab Emirates pledged to provide a power plant capacity of 440 megawatts, in the provinces of Aden and Lahij and Abyan and Dalea, also pledged to provide maintenance materials and operation of the power grid in the provinces of Hadramout and Mahara and Shabwa and others. Emirates also provided fuel and gas for power plants, in addition to generators, and contracting with local companies to operate and maintain in each of the provinces of Aden and Abyan, Dalea and Lahj, Taiz and Shabwa, Hadramout, Marib and Mahara. And nearly five plants for electric power generation were established, including two new posts in the province of Aden, and the provide costs of maintenance and spare parts , as  UAE  provided diesel  , fuel and gas for generate power plants, hospitals, schools , and public buildings in the Yemeni provinces.

This package of assistance that the  UAE pledged to  provide it to  the electricity sector in Yemen comes within the framework of the comprehensive efforts in providing humanitarian assistance to the brotherly country, these efforts  involved by  all the components of the UAE community, leadership, government and national institutions and people.

Among the humanitarian projects that have left its mark on children Basically, the opening of the People’s Park in Brega  of Aden; one of the largest parks in Aden, and the support and funding of this project were done by the UAE Red Crescent Authority, as part of the efforts to raise the level of life in the areas that has  been retaken   by the  legitimate forces . The  park, which opened on 13 March include games for  children and two volleyball games, in addition to planting the garden floor, as contained trade fairs for the charity named by the names of southern provinces .And during the opening ceremony, which was attended by representatives for the local authority, and the delegates of the UAE Red Crescent, Undersecretary of Aden governorate for the district, Sheikh Abdul Rahman said that these projects come after the city of Aden has become a safe and stable, thanks to the efforts of the coalition countries, especially the United Arab Emirates. He added that the assistance provided by the United Arab Emirates  contribute significantly to the normalization of life and alleviate the suffering of the people due to the war. He praised the step of construction of the park in record time and he said that this is not  strange  to the UAE, which restored  the rehabilitation of full Aden schools  during a short time.

Within the UAE’s integrated effort to support Yemen, several campaigns, including «thyself, O Yemen» campaigns have been launched by the UAE Red Crescent Society, which aims to stand by the Yemeni people to enable him to overcome the difficult conditions experienced due to the crisis in the country . And Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak’s initiative to improve maternal and child health services in Yemen, where the initiative include providing the necessary support for 15 projects in Aden and neighboring provinces, including health, education and social fields, water, electricity and energy as well as supporting women and rehabilitation of people with disabilities and improve shelter services in remote areas, including support Centres of Tawahi for childbirth and Crater for women and  college  of community Science and trade Institute in Khor Maksar and Vocational industrial Institute in addition to the launch of the UAE Red Crescent Authority the largest campaign for the relief of 10 million affected Yemen.

Based on this humanitarian role, the UAE ranked first globally as the largest donor of humanitarian aid through the Yemeni crisis in  response to the current humanitarian situation  and it came in the forefront of countries that responded to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, according to the data relevant international organizations of the United Nations , as the  UAE   humanitarian donor  authorities  played  a key role in providing relief for the affected people  due to the  the current humanitarian situation through the conduct of commercial airplanes and ships to provide various relief needs. Thus, the United Arab Emirates has balanced in its participation in the war to regain legitimacy in Yemen between military intervention and humanitarian work.


Unit Gulf Studies

Translated by : Mudhaffar al-Kusairi

Rawabet Center for  Research and Strategic Studies