Acting upon 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 Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, launched today an initiative with the theme, 'UAE Response to Improve the Humanitarian Conditions and Development in Ethiopia'.
The initiative features programmes for the Holy Month of Ramadan that will benefit 700 internally displaced people, IDPs, living in the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa and other parts of the country who have been affected by the events that took place in the country's borders last year.
As per the plan, houses and residential complexes will be built for the IDPs in their areas of origin to help them settle down after a time of suffering and displacement.
H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region, Chairman of the ERC, stressed that the UAE leadership's directives in this regard epitomise the strong relationship between the UAE and Ethiopia and the constant dialogue between their respective leadership and the strong fraternal ties between the two peoples.
"It also echoes the UAE leadership's concern with the humanitarian conditions of the IDPs in Ethiopia," he added.
He also said, "It also comes as part of UAE's, as the donor country, commitment to its humanitarian and development approach towards its friendly people in continuation of its initiatives aimed at alleviating people's suffering and supporting the development efforts in crisis-stricken societies."
Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, Ethiopia's Prime Minister, commended the UAE's instant reaction to come to the support the of the IDPs and development efforts in Ethiopia. "The UAE's initiative will contribute to improving the humanitarian conditions and easing the suffering of IDPs across the Ethiopian regions".
"The UAE support for Ethiopia in these holy days has had a positive impact on the Ethiopian people who value high all the initiatives of the UAE leadership and people. The UAE has always been a forerunner in supporting the Ethiopian people in all circumstances and emergencies," he said.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister stressed that, "the Ethiopian government is ready to provide all assistances and facilities to help the ERC to carry on its humanitarian mission in Ethiopia in line with aspirations of the two sides and to meet the needs of the IDPs."
The Ethiopian top official was speaking during a meeting with Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, Secretary-General of the ERC and Fahad Abdulrahman bin Sultan, Deputy Secretary-General for International Aid at ERC , with Ali Saad Al Amairah, the UAE's Charge D'affaires in Addis Ababa, in attendance.
The ERC's delegation distributed 13,000 food baskets to the IDPs, to be followed with additional 700,000 baskets, and also discussed with some Ethiopian officials from the Ethiopian government and local charity partners the ERC's programmes for the Holy Month of Ramadan that include organising group Iftar, distribution of food baskets and Zakat Al Fiter.
Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi stressed that the ERC eyes its programmes in Ethiopia with great importance in line with the directives of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan. "We got first-hand knowledge about the current humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and we will do our best to help the IDPs," he said.
ERC implemented aid and development programmes in Ethiopia, over the last three decades, at a total cost of around AED70.2 million, out of which 909 development projects at a total cost of AED35.8 million that benefited 72,706 people.
These include 236 water projects, costing around AED3.2 million, 640 healthcare and education projects worth around AED34.6 million and 34 social and construction projects, costing around AED1.3 million.
ERC also implemented a number of projects under the UAE Water Aid (Suqia), and 'Dress One Million' initiatives.
The cost of the ERC's programmes for IDPs and victims of crises and drought in different times was around AED6.6 million that benefited 183,000 people. The orphans support programmes costed around AED22.7 million and AED4.9 million for the ERC's seasonal projects in Ethiopia.