King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre: Outreach with a global footprint

Faisal Al-Shammeri
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The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre is on the forefront of humanitarian outreach throughout the globe. To date it has provided humanitarian and development aid to more than 37 countries, which stretch from Central America to East Asia, from West Africa to Southeastern Europe, and obviously from the Middle East to Central and South Asia.

At a time where there are more internal and external refugees on the move than at anytime since World War II, Saudi Arabia through King Salman Relief Centre is assuming the responsibility that in some circles is solely lacking. Some of the poorest countries on the planet, and in some cases not Muslim, like Honduras have been able to work directly with the King Salman Relief Centre and others like Burkina Faso are hardly even given the dignity of a momentary thought.


Established in 2015 it has not hesitated to project its mandate to aid and assist the poor throughout the globe. It does not make decisions to assist based on politics, ethnicity or religion. Only its ability to help and make a difference are the factors that are taken into consideration. We have seen since the 1990s what happens when indifference meets tragedy: pain, despair, and sadly death.

In one of the many initiatives undertaken by The King Salman Relief Centre there are 28 food security and shelter projects benefitting some 18 million people in countries like Mauritania, Zambia, Somalia, Albania, Yemen, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

World’s largest donors

To put it in perspective, Saudi Arabia has been among the world’s largest donors and was the global leader of contributions for humanitarian causes on the basis of a percentage of GDP. Another way of looking the scope of the outreach from the Kingdom is the contribution in 2015 of $274 million as a target set by the United Nations. The Kingdom matched that total in its opening pledge.

It is not too much of an exaggerated statement when it is offered that at no time in recent history has there been comparable levels of war and death from North Africa to the very heart of the Middle East. The people of Syria and Iraq have endured images and experiences along the human spectrum that can only be rivaled perhaps by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia or Eastern Europe from January 1945 until the end of World War II in May of that year.

The slaughterhouse in Syria seems to have come to a momentary pause and with Iraq shares a humanitarian crisis of massive proportions. Once prosperous farms possessing good land have been burnt and laid to waste, homes destroyed, with millions trundling their belongings to unknown destinations.

Temporary housing aid, food distribution centers, have been created in Syria for what is an estimated one million displaced Palestinian refugees affected by the brutal war there. Currently in Yemen there are over 21 humanitarian aid delivery projects which benefit an estimated 27 million people which involve some 11 international and local partners.

Major General Ahmed Al Asiri (L), spokesman for the Arab Coalition and Maher Al Hadhrawi, Executive Director of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (Ksrelief) attend a press briefing at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London, on November 3, 2016. (Reuters)
Major General Ahmed Al Asiri (L), spokesman for the Arab Coalition and Maher Al Hadhrawi, Executive Director of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (Ksrelief) attend a press briefing at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London, on November 3, 2016. (Reuters)

Medical aid projects

Included in the overall operation are some 33 medical aid projects that reach some 16 million Yemeni’s and Yemeni refugees in Djibouti, and this individual segment of the humanitarian outreach program to Yemen encompasses some 40 intentional and local partners.

A significant achievement of the King Salman Relief Centre in Yemen has seen some 98 percent of cholera patients cured. These numbers have been proven accurate and according to the World Health Organization the death rate associated with cholera has gone down to 0.8 percent.

Upon coming to power King Salman bin Abdulaziz set up this organization and it has not lacked in making an impact. As Governor of Riyadh he had a demonstrated track record of vigorous participation in charity and humanitarian work. This tradition continues and the importance of its mission is not lost when a Minister Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah was chosen to lead this cause.

In both Syria and Yemen there is the real prospect of aid intended for humanitarian missions being stolen and the individuals working to get it to those who need it risking their lives for their causes. Nonetheless the work of The King Salman Relief Center and its people carries on unabated in the face of this. To be confronted with pain, suffering, in some cases evil, and to be indifferent, or choose to do nothing actually aligns with a position being taken.

The best generation

By doing nothing the pain, suffering, and evil is enabled to continue when people do nothing. When Prophet Muhammed (Peace be Upon Him) arrived in Madinah, he created bonds of brotherhood between the local inhabitants and the emigrants from Mecca.

In this way, he encouraged them to render assistance to one another and live together in harmony. The Prophet, in his wisdom, brought two different peoples together into one combined society, who became the best generation humanity has ever witnessed.

It is important that the previous sentence is read carefully again because it included all the peoples who lived in Madinah. The King Salman Relief Centre works in this same line of thinking.

It is mandated for Saudi Arabia to play a role in bring humanitarian aid and provide a path to the end of misery and suffering where it is possible to do so. And today through its actions, Saudi Arabia has done that in a most decisive manner for all peoples, Muslim and non-Muslim.

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