UAE's role in Yemen's Socotra 'essential' for development and reconstruction says Sheikh Hamdan

Chairman of Emirates Red Crescent highlights humanitarian-led 'perspective' and focus on improving living conditions

Residents of Socotra are being supported by the UAE's humanitarian efforts on the Yemeni archipelago. Photo: Yousef bin Shakar alzaabi
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The UAE is playing an essential role in ensuring the development and reconstruction drive to improve living conditions in Yemen's Socotra archipelago "within a holistic humanitarian perspective away from any other considerations or individual interests", said Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent.

What the Emirates Red Crescent "is doing on ground in Yemen stems from a pure humanitarian and ethical commitment toward brothers," he said, according to Wam.

He said the Red Crescent "will spare no efforts to continue to help the Yemenis survive their challenges in Socotra and its presence there has not started recently but it has always been serving the interests of our brothers, alleviating their suffering and improving their lives".

When a powerful cyclone struck Socotra in November 2015, killing three people and injuring about 100, the UAE provided rescue and aid efforts.

The Emirates Red Crescent has also established the 356-home Sheikh Zayed City, which provides access to health and education services to hundreds of families in the areas of Estiro, Zahiq and F'arhu, Wam said.

Mosques have also been renovated, a 75 km water network has been built and a marine protected area for fishing has been established with 100 boats provided for inhabitants of Hudeibo,  whose main source of income is fishing. Two public parks and two football pitches have also been provided in Socotra by the Emirates Red Crescent.  Two mass weddings for hundreds of couples have also been funded by the Red Crescent.

The UAE has deployed soldiers to Socotra, which is a Unesco World Heritage site, as part of a campaign to support its residents, who held rallies for a third day on Wednesday to show their support for the Emirati presence. The country has been accused by some Yemeni officials of over-stepping its UN-backed mandate as part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels to to restore the internationally recognised government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs has highlighted the role being played in Yemen by the Muslim Brotherhood - and its supporters - which has been designated as a terror group by both the UAE and Saudi Arabia. It said that attempts to distort its actions on Socotra are part of Muslim Brotherhood-led smear campaigns to undermine the fight against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Socotrans on Wednesday said they condemned the plot by the Muslim Brotherhood "to drive the peaceful island to chaos", according to one resident, Abdulrahman Jumaan, who spoke to The National.

They also expressed their support for the UAE's humanitarian efforts, said Mr Jumaan.