Saudi officials, scholars and Yemenis including President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi have praised Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for opening a relief center that would provide aid for the Yemeni people.
“The center will provide relief for all communities in Yemen in coordination with the UN agencies concerned and international organizations,” said Hadi. It would alleviate the suffering of Yemeni men, women and children, he said.
“The center embodies the Kingdom’s leading role in carrying out humanitarian and relief works not only in Yemen, but across the world,” said Tawfiq Khoja, director of the executive bureau of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Health Ministers’ Council.
Khoja said the establishment of the center indicates that the Kingdom remains committed to helping the Yemeni people. He said King Salman has been keeping a close watch on the situation in the country. Saudi Arabia has been determined to dispatch humanitarian aid to the people through various channels, he said.
Saleh N. Al-Otaibi, a Saudi academic, said: “This royal gesture is a continuation of the Kingdom’s efforts to extend help to the Yemeni people and to save them from the atrocities of the Houthi militants.” He said Yemen was the poorest country in the Arab region and struggles with chronic underdevelopment and instability.
“Malnutrition, food and water shortages, rampant unemployment, illiteracy and high gender inequality have been compounded by civil conflict,” said Al-Otaibi. King Salman’s initiative would speed up aid to these poor people, he said.
He said that the warring factions in Yemen, including the Houthis, are not complying with the terms of the five-day truce that started on Tuesday night.
“The whole of Yemen is in turmoil,” said Rabee Amin, a Yemeni marketing executive. He thanked King Salman for his “unprecedented support for Yemen.” Since 2004, fighting between the government of Yemen and Houthi rebels has displaced an estimated 175,000 people, he said. “The situation was further aggravated after the Houthis, backed by Iran, launched unilateral war in my country,” he said.
Amin said that the new escalation in the conflict has worsened the humanitarian situation but this would be eased by the support offered by King Salman and Saudi Arabia. “The Saudi response was natural and automatic. The Kingdom always takes care of those suffering in surrounding countries not only in Yemen,” he said.
In a statement on Wednesday, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Assiri, spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition, commended the humanitarian gesture of King Salman. However, he expressed doubts that the Houthis would comply with the terms of the cease-fire. He said that the relief center would boost efforts of UN agencies to deliver aid in Yemen.
King Salman has allocated SR2 billion to the relief effort. This is the SR1 billion promised after a request made by the UN, and a further SR1 billion donation he made on Wednesday at the launch of the center. Most of the funds will be used by the UN, which said recently in a statement that the money would meet the needs of 7.5 million people affected by the worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

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