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UAE's help limited casualties of Mogadishu blast: Somali envoy

Construction is currently underway for the Sheikh Zayed Hospital, the largest in capital Mogadishu

Abu Dhabi: ,The ambassador of Somalia to the UAE has expressed gratitude to the UAE for standing beside the Somali people following the deadly terrorist blast in Mogadishu last Saturday.

''The UAE's immediate response to airlift 100 of injured Somalis to receive treatment in Kenya at its cost has alleviated the human suffering and limited human losses due to that heinous attacks,'' Abdulkadir Sheikhey Mohammad Al Hatimi told Emirates News Agency (WAM).

The UAE said that it would also rush urgent medical supplies and medicines to Somali hospitals to increase their capacities to provide healthcare to the increasing number of injured people.

The Emirates Red Crescent will take care of 300 orphans, who lost their families in the explosions, for six months, after which they will be included in the orphans' sponsorship programme.

Al Hatimi noted that the UAE is the only country that airlifted victims of terrorist attacks in Somalia over the years for treatment at its hospitals, and this signalled the deeply-rooted values of charity and giving in the Emirati community.

''The UAE... is a nation that treasures the values of humanity as history testifies that UAE assistance, including political and military to Somalia, has never been affected by developments in the Somali internal front as the prime goal is to help and enable the Somali people to overcome their disasters and crises facing it without any return or end,'' the Somali ambassador said.

The ambassador said that the UAE men had spared no effort in carrying out their humanitarian duty towards the Somali people and defied challenges to do that.

''The UAE diplomats in Somalia have donated blood to save the lives of those injured in the last Saturday's bloody explosion in the capital, Mogadishu. This humanitarian gesture will go down in history as an example of the constant support extended by the leadership, government and people of the UAE to the Somali people to weather the storm," he said.

''The UAE has always been extending relief assistance, establishing developmental and services projects in Somalia without waiting for returns,'' he added.

The ERC has been operating in the Horn of Africa country for the past 20 years offering all kinds of assistance to the Somalia people. According to an ERC statistics, the value of assistance provided by the leading UAE relief agency to Somalia over the last 23 years stood at Dh277.6 million.

The ambassador said that his government has gone a long way in its fight against terrorism by defeating and expelling the al-Shabab terrorist group from various parts of the country.

''Thanks to the brave decision taken by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to extend relief and developmental assistance to Somalia, many areas have been liberated and subjected to government control,'' he said.

The UAE's key goal in Somalia, he added, is reconstruction and building. The UAE is currently undertaking the second phase of the Sheikh Zayed Hospital, the largest in capital Mogadishu, which will deliver world-class healthcare services to the Somali people. Other projects include construction of schools and dams as well as drilling of water wells.

The UAE's assistance to Somalia, he went on to say, covers many economic, social, health and educational fields with the UAE's humanitarian and relief agencies playing a commendable role.

''The UAE is at the forefront of aid donors to Somalia. We highly appreciate the significant role still being played by its humanitarian and charitable organisations,'' he said.

Last April, the Emirates Red Crescent launched an aid campaign named "For Your Sake, Somalia" to combat famine.

The UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia), under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has implemented two projects to provide drinking water to over 90,000 people in Somalia.