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UK increases humanitarian assistance for Libya as crisis deepens

The United Kingdom has announced an increase in aid for disaster-stricken Libya to assist in recovery efforts after the catastrophic flooding that claimed the lives of thousands of people in Derna.

Despite their rocky relationship, the UK announced £1 million in humanitarian support for Libya in the face of the unfolding crisis.

“This is a crisis not just for Libya and those families impacted but for all of us,” UK Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa Lord Ahmed said in an interview with Al Arabiya.

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Lord Ahmed said the UK had pledged more funding in recent days and has been coordinating with key partners such as the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and UN agencies.

He highlighted that the initial funding was for life-saving equipment, sanitation, water, food, and shelter.

The first flight carrying this essential support already landed in Benghazi.
Recognizing the urgent need for medical aid for survivors, the UK has also dispatched a team in collaboration with UK Med to assess the medical requirements on the ground.

The British diplomat also announced an additional £10 million in funding from the UK, earmarked for addressing the earthquake tragedy in Morocco and the immediate needs of the Libyan people.

Furthermore, he discussed the coordination efforts with the United Nations, specifically the UN humanitarian fund (CERF), to which the UK contributed over £52 million. The UN swiftly allocated £10 million from this fund for life-saving support in response to the crisis in Libya.

Asked about the possibility of increasing funding, Lord Ahmed stressed the importance of assessment teams currently on the ground to understand the immediate requirements fully. He emphasized the need for coordination and cooperation among all parties involved in Libya to ensure the efficient delivery of humanitarian aid.

Complex situation on the ground

Lord Ahmed acknowledged the complex situation in Libya, highlighting the UK’s ongoing efforts to support reconciliation initiatives .

He emphasized the importance of coordination, given the multifaceted nature of the crisis and the existing challenges in Libya “Coordination is key and, in that regard, there is an appeal for all sides and Libya to work together because this is in the service of humanity the people of Libya need us all.”

Lord Ahmed also touched on the threat of disease spreading in Libya and the UK’s role in preventing such a disaster, stressing the need for immediate assessments and coordination with various agencies, including UN agencies, to ensure a concerted effort in addressing this issue.

“The first and foremost thing is trying to recover survivors,” Lord Ahmed said.

He shared his experience on the ground during his recent visit to Libya. “I’ve been on the ground; I mean, it really shakes you to the core,” he said.

Regarding the challenges in Derna, in the eastern part of Libya, Lord Ahmed spoke about the logistical difficulties in accessing the area and the fragility of the situation on the ground. “Different people, different parties controlling different elements of those groups, and our appeal to them is a simple one: whatever your motive, whatever your instincts, the main instinct should be the service of humanity.”

When asked about the UK’s engagement in Libya, considering the absence of a single government, Lord Ahmed explained that the UK works with various perspectives and mainly engages with the president and prime minister of Libya.

As for speculation about the maintenance of certain dams being the leading cause of the deadly flood, he said that the UK had not yet concluded what caused the flood or who was to blame.

In the meantime, Lord Ahmed hopes that the government will learn an important lesson from this disaster.
“Sometimes it takes a disaster of this kind of unimaginable terms to pull the country together. One hopes that those who are on the ground realize their responsibility,” he explained.

The UK’s priority is to ensure that all humanitarian and medical aid will reach those in need, he said. He reiterated the UK’s commitment to assisting Libya during this crisis and emphasized the importance of coordination, unity among Libyan factions, and international support.

He expressed hope that the tragedy in Libya would galvanize the nation to work together for a better future “It’s not about the past; it’s about where we are right now…a catastrophe which has hit the people of Libya, … right now we need to be looking at their immediate needs and the future.”

Read more:

Libyan minister says journalists asked to leave flood-hit Derna

Libya demands accountability, protest against authorities in flood-hit Derna

US to give $11 million to aid organizations responding to Libya floods

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Almarai signs an MoU with the Authority of People with Disabilities to train and employ them.

Almarai Company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Authority of People with
Disabilities to train, qualify and employ persons with disabilities. This came on the sidelines of
the First International Labor Market Conference, organized by the Ministry of Human Resources
and Social Development on December 13 – 14, 2023, at the King Abdulaziz Convention Center
in Riyadh.

The memorandum was signed by the Chief Human Resources Officer of Almarai Company,
Fahad Mohammed Aldrees, and the CEO of the Authority of People with Disabilities, Dr.
Hisham bin Muhammad Al-Haidari.

“This agreement comes within the framework of the company’s social responsibility program, as
Almarai employs more than 500 people with disabilities, which is one of the most suitable work
environments for them.” Fahad Aldrees said. Pointing out that Almarai has the “Silent Line”,
which is one of its production lines that is designated for people with hearing disabilities.

It is worth mentioning that Almarai supports over 300 charity organizations annually across the
kingdom that operate in the field of community development.

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Central Phuket Shopping Center Prepared Surprises This Christmas & New Year 2024

Central Phuket Shopping Center, the luxury lifestyle landmark o Phuket, invites everyone to celebrate Christmas and New Year 2024 in The Great Celebration 2024 Campaign. Joining hands with global partner ‘The Pokémon Company’, Central Phuket bring over Pokémon, the super cute character popular around the world, for all locals and international fans. The special campaign launch presents a procession of cute ‘Pikachu’ alongside with the giant Christmas tree for the first time in Thailand.
This December, Central Phuket prepared many activities for shoppers when visiting Phuket! Experience the “Surprise of the Day” with free Cotton Candy for our little ones, a sweet and fluffy treat, a special gift from Central Phuket. Bring your kids to enjoy this sweet treat every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December. Don’t miss the Christmas Carol that
everyone loves, little Santas spread freshness by singing together in the Christmas Carol activity. Plus, Christmas Live Music, the festival of joy is back! Celebrate Christmas in a luxurious and classy atmosphere, enjoying the music that will bring us joy. Also, there will be Christmas Troop, Santa Claus is coming to town! The Santa troop will spread happiness throughout Central Phuket. Lastly, Cake Workshop, workshop activity with Chef Sebastien’s IRON CHEF Thailand teaching how to make Christmas Vanilla Cake. A special activity for the Christmas season. Moreover, Central Phuket provides special promotion exclusively for international tourists throughout December 23 – January 24 including:

1) Get Free! Tourist welcome discount package valued up to THB 10,000.
2) Receive THB 100 Gift voucher when spending up to THB 2,500 per receipt.
3) Get to buy ‘Happy Holiday Collections’ special price: Pokémon 2-in-1 pillow blanket, tumbler, travel bag set, and keychain. Visit redemption counter for the price.
4) Exclusive for Grab Users get discount code up to 25% off* when traveling to participating Central Shopping Centers.
5) Receive famous Elephant Pants when spending over THB 5,000 in shopping center.
6) Get Free! H&M THB 100 gift voucher when booking any accommodations in Phuket with Agoda. Terms and conditions apply.

Central Phuket is a home of global luxury brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Saint Laurent. Exclusive for this season, Louis Vuitton launches a pop-up store located at Central Phuket. The design is inspired by the story of Damier or Checkerboard, the brand’s signature pattern. This classic pattern was created by Louis
Vuitton and his son Georges Vuitton in 1888 and has always been part of the design of Maison’s iconic items and concepts. Find clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories for men at the Pop-up Store from Louis Vuitton at Central Phuket, 1st floor, from today until 31 March 2024. And with over 500 renowned fashion brands and lifestyle shops ranging from local to international
well-known brands covering all categories, international shoppers will be able to find what they are looking for in Central Phuket.
Central Phuket is located in the heart of one of the world’s most famous beach cities, Phuket and await to welcome both locals and international visitors this holiday. Also, don’t miss one of the most joyful New Year Count Down events in Phuket city at Central Phuket Shopping Center on December 31, 2023.

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Saudi Fund for Development Provides $100 Million Development Loan for the Rogun Hydropower Project

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, signed a new development loan agreement with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Kahhorzoda Fayziddin Sattor, through which SFD is contributing $100 million USD to fund the Rogun Hydropower Project, a landmark initiative that will enhance energy,
food, and water security, and foster sustainable development in the country. The signing was attended by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Waleed Al-Reshiadan, and the Ambassador of Tajikistan to Saudi Arabia, H.E. Akram Karimi, alongside other officials from both sides. SFD’s development loan will help contribute towards a more sustainable and equitable food and water future for Tajikistan, while driving the country’s energy transition and climate resilience. The project aims to contribute to the national energy security and will help advance sustainable
development in the Republic of Tajikistan, by providing the renewable electricity supply to meet local demand and expand electricity production domestically and regionally, producing 3600 MW of energy. The loan agreement will also finance the construction of a 335-meter-tall dam, which will enhance irrigation capabilities and bolster agricultural activities across the country. Additionally, the project will improve flood protection through the construction of four hydraulic
tunnels for diversion and drainage. It will also provide clean and drinkable water to people through desalination, and help advance socio-economic development, by creating both direct and indirect jobs.
Importantly, this project also supports the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); specifically, SDG 2, Zero Hunger, SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy.
On this occasion, the CEO of SFD, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, said: “Today’s signing marks a major milestone in our shared journey towards a more sustainable future. With this landmark development loan, SFD is not just supporting Tajikistan’s energy future, but also its sustainable development and the well-being of its people. The Rogun Hydropower Project is a beacon of
hope for a bright future that is powered by clean, renewable energy. It will propel Tajikistan towards environmental stewardship and prosperity.”

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