The United Arab Emirates is celebrating Zayed Humanitarian Work Day, which falls on the 19th day of Ramadan every year, in memory of the founder of the state, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who passed away on this day.
This year's celebration saw the launch of further vital and high-quality humanitarian and charitable initiatives through thousands of governmental and community-led events organised by public, private, and national institutions.
This day is considered a milestone in the history of the UAE, as the event celebrates a range of achievements by the state in the field of humanitarian work by assisting other countries and peoples.
Over the past few years, the UAE has contributed to many international humanitarian initiatives that aid and support the capabilities of millions of people from target groups in many countries, in weak or marginalised regions, and in hot zones, in addition to victims of natural disasters, armed conflict, violence, wars, hunger, poverty, disease and destitution.
The UAE's leadership was keen to launch several international humanitarian initiatives, to which end 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 UAE Armed Forces, issued instructions to help the brotherly people of Yemen to endure their current ordeal.
So far, the total humanitarian aid provided by the UAE to Yemen in response to the recent crisis has reached a value of Dh93,840,200. This aid includes the shipment of nearly 80,000 tonnes of relief food, medical aid and fuel, transported by 5 ships, 11 airplanes, and 40 trucks.
On June 10th, 2014, His Highness the President and His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi commanded the allocation of Dh192 million as urgent humanitarian aid to support the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.
The Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, under the guidance of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of ERC, oversaw the immediate administration and implementation of this aid. The ERC was also assigned to set up an integrated field hospital in the Gaza Strip and equip it to rescue and care for victims of Israeli aggression, which martyred hundreds and wounded thousands more innocent victims, including civilians, many of whom are women and children.
In a second important initiative, His Highness the President launched a programme to vaccinate millions of Pakistani children under the slogan, "Health for All ... A Better Future." The administrative committee of the UAE Project to Assist Pakistan announced that it has administered 44,082,226 doses of polio vaccination to Pakistani children in 53 districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the tribal Fateh province, and the Baluchistan and Sindh provinces.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, sponsored several initiatives, most notably providing clothing for one million children around the world, developing irrigation projects, and establishing a village for orphaned children, along with providing shelter, education, health, psychological care, and nutrition for orphans in need.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, also sponsored an initiative, donating US$120 million to support global efforts to eradicate the polio virus by the year 2018, with special focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In 2011, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a strategic partnership through which the two parties would donate equal shares of a sum of US$100 million for the purchase and delivery of vital vaccines for children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This partnership resulted in the spending of US$34 million to provide 85 million oral doses of the polio vaccine for the children of Afghanistan and Pakistan, while US$66 million was allocated for the delivery of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and the pentavalent vaccine to Afghanistan.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan also launched a campaign to vaccinate 20,000 Pakistani children against measles and polio in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where measles is most widespread among Pakistani children according to UNICEF reports and statistics. Some 1.2 million cases of measles are reported annually in Pakistan, and about 21,000 children die every year, as one-third of Pakistan's children are not vaccinated against the disease.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent, reiterated that the relief aid provided by the UAE in 2013 alone exceeded US$5 billion, which ranks amongst the largest amounts of relief aid provided by any country, compared to their gross national income. He also noted that the UAE's position among the top donors of aid is a natural result of the late Sheikh Zayed's efforts to do good and his devotion to serve humanity anywhere in the world, which is the path that the UAE's wise leadership still follows.
The UAE has also provided loans, grants, and aid worth nearly Dh300 billion to many developmental projects in more than 300 countries, in addition to donating more than Dh100 billion through international organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
According to the official annual report on the UAE's foreign aid for 2013, the UAE's donations for that year, reaching Dh21.63 billion, constituted a milestone, as the country had disbursed its highest value of aid payments in its history, making the UAE the top donor of official developmental aid in 2013 as a result of God's blessings and the country's prudent leadership.
Furthermore, during 2013 and 2014, the UAE's aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, reached Dh432 million.
Hazza Mohammed Falah Al Qahtani, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, MICAD, and Vice-President of the UAE Committee to Coordinate Foreign Aid, said that the total aid provided to victims of the Gaza crisis caused by Israeli aggression at the end of the summer reached some Dh92 million. The UAE, represented by the Emirates Red Crescent, also pledged to donate US$40.8 million to UNRWA.
Additionally, the total humanitarian aid donated by the UAE to those affected by the Syrian crisis reached Dh306.8 during 2012 and 2013, 206 million of which was provided by the UAE government.
According to the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development's indicators, the aid provided by the UAE through humanitarian institutions increased fourfold in 2013 from Dh52 million in 2012, rising to Dh254.68 million, in response to the escalating crisis afflicting the Syrian population.
The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development is considered one of the leading development aid institutions in the world. The fund does not only provide loans to Arab countries, but also reaches African and Asian countries, and so far 69 countries have benefited from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development through some 400 development programmes with a total estimated value of more than Dh61 billion.
In October 2012, the International Organisation for Migration commended the support provided by the UAE and its high-quality relief contributions to displaced peoples around the world. On April 7th, 2014, the Development Assistance Committee, DAC, which is part of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, announced that the UAE ranked first globally on a list of the top donors of relief aid for the year 2013, thus achieving a historic leap for the country in the field of foreign aid, raising it from nineteenth place in 2012 to first place in 2013.
The committee stated that the relief aid provided by the UAE in 2013 reached more than US$5.2 billion, stressing that it was the largest official amount of relief aid provided by a state compared to its gross national income, and pointing out that there was a 375 percent increase in the foreign aid provided by the UAE from 2012 to 2013.
The UAE came in sixth on a list of the most generous donors of foreign aid in the world, according to the classification of the DAC in 2012, as the amount of foreign aid provided by the UAE between the time of its establishment on December 2nd, 1971, and 2010, had reached more than US$163 billion in the form of loans or gift aid, while it had provided US$2.11 billion in 2011 and over US$1.59 billion in 2012.
Some 43 government organisations, non-governmental organisations, and humanitarian organisations are in charge of disbursing this aid to more than 137 countries and afflicted areas throughout the world; twenty-two of these organisations are federal. High quality and generous initiatives by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Their Highnesses the Members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates, have also been implemented.
The cost of humanitarian aid provided by the Emirates Red Crescent, both within and outside the country, between 1983 and 2013, exceeded Dh8 billion, benefitting up to 100 countries. The Zayed Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation has spent, since its inception in 1992, more than US$460 million on various programmes and humanitarian projects carried out in 96 countries across all continents.
The value of aid provided by the UAE to refugees and internally displaced people in 71 countries across the world from 2009 to mid-2014 exceeded Dh2.6 billion. This aid was aimed at providing support, assistance, and relief to victims and people displaced from their homes as a result of catastrophic natural disasters, armed conflicts and wars.
The UAE Project to Assist Pakistan implemented developmental and humanitarian projects at a cost of US$320 million in its early first and second stages to counter the effects of the devastating floods of 2010, rebuild the country's infrastructure, provide humanitarian aid, and start a new phase of charity and solidarity with the people of Pakistan.
Most of the funding for these early stages of the project came from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation for Humanitarian Work.