ONE of Bahrain’s largest-ever consignments of aid will soon set sail for conflict-torn Yemen, it has been announced.

A ship carrying 700 tonnes of aid in 36 containers, including a special one for medicines, will set sail on Saturday from Khalifa Bin Salman Port.

The humanitarian initiative is being spearheaded by the Royal Charity Organisation (RCO) under the directives of His Majesty King Hamad.

“Bahrain will send humanitarian aid that includes mainly rice, wheat flour, medicine, water, tents and canned food items,” said RCO secretary-general Dr Mustafa Al Sayed.

“The King led by example and ordered the dispatch of aid to Yemen by donating $1.2 million to support relief work that was used to buy 700 tonnes of food and medicines.”

Dr Al Sayed was speaking yesterday during a meeting at the RCO headquarters in Seef that featured representatives of different ministries and Bahrain Red Crescent Society secretary-general Dr Fauzi Ameen.

He said that the aid consignment would contain 20 tonnes of medicine, 93 tonnes of rice, 275 tonnes of flour, 23 tonnes of sugar, 156 tonnes of water and 500 tents, as well as canned food items that will all sail via Djibouti and be distributed by the United Nations World Food Programme.

“This is one of the largest aid consignments we are sending that aims to help those affected in Yemen,” said Dr Al Sayed.

Similar to the Nepal aid work, we will form the Bahrain-Yemen support committee and set up bank accounts to collect more funds in Bahrain.

“There are many heroes in this small country with a big heart, which was reflected during the RCO Nepal donation drive.”

The RCO earlier this month dispatched two aid consignments weighing more than 50 tonnes to Nepal to help families affected by the earthquake on April 25, which killed more than 8,000 people and displaced thousands of others.

Present during the meeting was the Social Development Ministry’s non-governmental organisation director Najwa Janahi who said that all registered charities and associations would be instructed to collect funds for Yemen.

Dr Al Sayed said the RCO was now responsible for aid programmes in Gaza, the Philippines, Nepal, Pakistan, Egypt and now Yemen.

“The RCO and its team efforts are recognised globally,” he said.

Forces loyal to Yemen’s leader-in-exile President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi have been fighting since March with Houthi rebels.

On March 25, Saudi Arabia and its allies – including Bahrain – began an extensive air campaign targeting Houthi positions across Yemen.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said earlier this month that more than 545,000 people had been displaced in Yemen, adding that soaring prices for food, fuel and bottled or trucked water were compounding the difficulties.

BDF Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said last month that Bahrain would take part in a new Saudi-led coalition mission codenamed Operation Restore Hope that would focus on resuming political talks and combating “terrorism”.