The United Arab Emirates observed on 6th July 2015 for the fourth consecutive year the anniversary of Zayed Humanitarian Work Day as per the resolution of the Cabinet issued in November 2012, designating the 19th of Ramadan each year as the Zayed Humanitarian Work Day, to correspond with the death anniversary of the UAE's founding, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
This year's celebrations will see the launch of more humanitarian, charitable and quality initiatives through thousands of government and community events organised by private and public institutions and NGOs.
This is a landmark day in the history of the United Arab Emirates. The celebration expresses a range of achievements scored by the UAE in terms of humanitarian efforts and assistance to other countries and peoples.
Over the past years, the UAE launched many humanitarian initiatives that served and enhanced the capabilities of millions of people in many countries, isolated geographical areas, conflict zones and regions hit by famines and poverty.
The UAE leadership launched several international humanitarian initiatives. President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, directed to help brotherly people of Yemen to overcome the plight.
The total humanitarian aid so far provided by the UAE to Yemen in response to the current situation stood at over Dh93.8 million, including the transport of nearly 8, 000 tons of food stuff items and medical devices by five ships and 11 air trips and 40 trucks.
On 10th June, 2014, the UAE President and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi ordered the allocation of Dh192 million urgent humanitarian aid to support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, with follow-up of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the ERC, supervises the implementation of this aid. The ERC was also assigned to set up an integrated and outfitted field hospital in Gaza Strip to provide medical services to the victims of the Israeli aggression, which claimed the lives of hundreds of martyrs, and thousands of injured innocent civilians, including women and children.
In the second important initiative, the UAE President ordered the vaccination of millions of Pakistani children under the slogan "Health for All .. Better future." The UAE Assistance Project for Pakistan said 86 million doses were given to vaccinate children against polio in Pakistan in 53 district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the tribal region Fateh, Baluchistan and Sindh regions.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, also launched several initiatives, most notably, clothing of one million children around the world and Suqia to provide drinking water. A few days ago, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid launched the initiative to set up a village for orphans. It will provide shelter, care and education, physical and mental health care as well as good nutrition for the orphans.
For his part, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, provided US$120 million contribution in support of the global efforts to eradicate polio by 2018 with a special focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan. In 2011, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a strategic partnership. A total of US$100 million was provided by the two parties to purchase and deliver vital vaccines for children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This partnership resulted in spending US$34 million to provide 85 million oral doses of polio vaccines for the children of Afghanistan and Pakistan, while US$ 66 million had been spent for the delivery of "pneumococcal and pentavalent vaccines" to Afghanistan.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed also launched a vaccination campaign of 20, 000 Pakistani children against measles and polio in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where measles disease is widespread among Pakistani children according to UNICEF reports. In Pakistan, there are 1.2 million cases of measles reported annually and about 21, 000 children die each year because of this measles epidemic. Meanwhile one third of children in Pakistan do not get vaccinated against measles.
H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the ERC, stressed that the relief aid provided by the UAE in 2013 alone stood at US$5.2 billion, and deemed the largest relief aid provided by the State compared to its Gross National Income (GNI). He noted that with this record the UAE is ranked among major donor countries, adding that this is natural result, because it reflects the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed, who had devoted his life to serve the humanity anywhere in the world. "This legacy is sustained by our current wise leadership."
The UAE provided loans and grants to more than 300 countries throughout the world, nearly Dh300 billion, in addition to more than Dh100 billion through the international organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
According to the official annual report of UAE foreign aid for 2013, the UAE foreign aid constitutes a milestone in the history of the State, as the country achieved the highest rate in its history in terms of the total paid external assistance, equivalent to Dh21.63 billion, ranking the UAE top in the world regarding official development aid, thanks to its wise leadership.
During 2013 and 2014, the UAE aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, stood at Dh432 million, while total aid to the Gaza Strip to handle the crisis caused by the Israeli aggression, stood at Dh 92 million. The UAE represented by the ERC also pledged US$40.8 million dollars for UNRWA.
The UAE humanitarian aid directed to those affected by the Syrian crisis amounted to Dh306 million during 2012 to 2013. The government aid accounted for Dh206 million of the total value.
According to the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, the UAE humanitarian aid through humanitarian institutions jumped during 2012 from Dh52 million to four-fold during 2013, to reach over Dh254.6 million in the framework of response of the humanitarian institutions to the increasing humanitarian crisis in Syria. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, is one of the leading development aid institutions in the world, not only in terms of loans to the Arab countries, but also through its assistance that extends to African and Asian countries. The number of countries benefiting from the ADFD assistance, has so far reached 69 worldwide. It provides a set of development operations amounting approximately to 400, with a total value estimated at more than Dh61 billion.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in October 2012, commended the support of the UAE and its quality relief contributions to the displaced people in the world, while the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, announced on 7th April, 2014, that the UAE was ranked the first globally as the top donor country in relief aid for year 2013, thus achieving a historic leap in the field of granting foreign aid, jumping from19th place in 2012 to the first place in the year 2013.
The Committee stated that the relief aid provided by the UAE in 2013, stood at US$ 5.2 billion, noting that the UAE provided the largest proportion of official relief assistance provided by a single state compared to its gross national income. It pointed out that the UAE foreign aid increased by 375 percent in year 2013 compared to year 2012.
The foreign aid provided by the UAE since its establishment on 2nd December, 1971, until the year 2010, stood at US$163 billion in form of aid and loans or grants. The UAE foreign aid in 2011 amounted to US$11.2 billion and in 2012 stood at US$59.1 billion.
Such assistance, which was extended to 137 countries and geographical regions worldwide, was provided by about 43 governmental and non-governmental humanitarian and charitable agencies, including 22 federal institutions, with exception of quality and generous initiatives of the UAE President, Vice President, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Their Highnesses, Rulers of the Emirates.
The cost of humanitarian assistance provided by the ERC inside and outside the country from 1983 - 2013, stood at US$8 billion in 100 countries around the world. The Zayed Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation provided since its inception in 1992 more than US$460 million on various programmes and humanitarian projects carried out in 96 countries in the continents of the world.
The UAE provided assistance to the refugees and internally displaced people in 71 countries around the world from 2009 until mid-year 2014, more than Dh2.6 billion. The aid targeted those affected by conflicts and natural disasters, as a result of natural disasters and armed conflicts.
Meanwhile, the UAE Assistance Project to Pakistan carried out developmental and humanitarian projects at a cost of US$320 million to counter the effects of the devastating floods that ravaged the country in 2010, as well as the reconstruction of infrastructure and provision of humanitarian aid. The move reflects the UAE's solidarity with the people of Pakistan.
The total cost of the projects carried out by the UAE Assistance Project to Pakistan in the first and the second phases stood at 320 million. The ADFD and the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation incurred the bulk of the cost of these projects.