• Bassma Al Jandaly, Editor In Chief

AED3.8 billion cost of Emirates Red Crescent’s projects in 5 years: Secretary General

Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, Secretary General of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), said the charitable foundation has become a "well-known humanitarian and development institution locally, regionally and globally."

He told Emirates News Agency (WAM) that ERC’s relief programmes, which are carried out in 100 countries around the world on an annual basis, have "witnessed a notable leap."

"The projects were established in vital areas such as health, education, social services, environment, water and various infrastructure projects," he added.

He noted that the value of these programmes and projects during the last five years stood at nearly AED3.8 billion, of which AED1.6 billion constituted the cost of relief operations.

"The cost of development projects alone was AED1.2 billion, while the cost of orphans sponsorship programmes reached AED779 million and AED316 million was allocated for humanitarian aid in a number of fields," Al Falahi revealed.

"For 38 years, ERC has assumed the responsibility of conveying the message of love and peace from the UAE to all the peoples of the world who suffer dire circumstances without discrimination. The need will continue to be the only criterion to respond to the call of humanity and to provide the required assistance," he added.

He paid tribute to the support provided by "the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the follow-up of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) to the programmes, projects and continuous activities throughout the world, as well as the support of donors."

"Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed’s leadership of the ERC for nearly four decades has enhanced its capabilities and placed it at the forefront of organisations that have bold and innovative solutions to all humanitarian issues that plague human societies," he said.

He also praised the "outstanding efforts and pioneering role" of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and Honorary President of the Emirates Red Crescent for "her support of the authority’s projects."

He cited in this respect Sheikha Fatima Fund for Refugee Women, which was established at the initiative of Her Highness to alleviate the suffering of women and provide protection and assistance for refugee woman and children.

"UAE has always placed the plight of refugees and displaced persons at the forefront of its foreign aid agenda, to help ease their suffering and improve their dire living conditions," he said.

"Strengthening of partnerships between humanitarian organisations is necessary to improve the status of refugees, and draw attention to their urgent needs. And herein comes the UAE's refugee aid policy to reflect the values of tolerance, love and brotherhood between peoples, as instilled by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan."

Shedding more light on international partnerships, Al Falahi explained that the Emirates Red Crescent has strategic partnerships with a number of regional and international organisations, as part of the International Red Crescent and Red Cross movement, which is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide.

"The Emirates Red Crescent is classified among the main donor organisations in the humanitarian field," he said.

"We also have partnerships with the United Nations’ humanitarian and development organisations, such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organisation, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) along with other international organisations, with which we implement our programmes.

"It goes without saying that these partnerships have contributed to achieving a myriad of humanitarian and developmental gains for those targeted in a number of troubled areas."

Al Falahi also noted the UAE leadership's concerted efforts in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, saying it was exemplified in the decision of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan to allocate the largest budget ever in the history of the organisation in 2020.

He added that the authority, through its community initiatives during the pandemic, has helped almost 2.5 million people nationwide in areas including health, education and food security. Furthermore, the organisation also supported the families of victims and the deceased, assisted labourers and others left stranded in the country due to the suspension of flights, and helped reunite families separated due to the pandemic.

The official concluded by saying that the authority always seeks to attract more volunteers to enhance its services, noting that the number of ERC volunteers has so far reached 45,463, while volunteer hours reached 259,000 from 2020 until today, making it the highest number of completed volunteer hours in the organisation's history.

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