Saudi Aramco and local companies back COVID-19 aid programmes in Basque Country

Published: 22 October 2020 - 5:30 a.m.
By: Carla Sertin

Saudi Aramco is backing an aid program to mitigate the effects of coronavirus on Basque society. The program, part of the company’s global response to COVID-19, will be managed by the Energy Advanced Foundation, founded by TUBACEX, TUBOS REUNIDOS, AMPO and VICINAY MARINE, for the role they play within their value chain.

Over $350,000 have now been donated and allocated to a range of charitable initiatives covering healthcare, food supply and education.

In terms of healthcare, facemasks and other Personal Protective Equipment were donated to retirement homes, community health centers and to the general public, ensuring access these important preventive resources. Additionally, funding was awarded to a project proposed by the Biocruces Bizkaia Health Research Institute to understand and prevent COVID-19 in retirement homes, analyzing the importance of the microbiota in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Finally, funding was given to an innovative project developed by Eversens, which detects inflammation in the respiratory tract associated with SARS-COV-2 by measuring exhaled nitric oxide (eNO).

On another front, the program offers support to sections of society left financially vulnerable by coronavirus. This includes a donation of more than 30,000 euros to food Banks in Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, who have seen a 30% increase in the demand for basic goods during confinement. This amount is expected to cover the dietary requirements of 50 individuals for the period of a year. Other activities in this vein include the provision of a daily meal for families without resources in the Ayala valley, and support for the RedCross’ Responde program, meeting the basic needs of groups at risk from poverty and exclusion. These groups include the homeless, and thanks to the global plan outlined here around twenty young people, who had been living in sports centers and hostels around Bilbao during the pandemic, could be relocated to Caritas’ Begoñetxe temporary residence, where they will receive ongoing coaching on education and employment.

Lastly, confinement has exacerbated educational and digital inequality across younger generations. With the participation of Euskaltel and SD Eibar Fundazioa, the program was able to offer internet access to impoverished families in the Durango and Debabarrena areas so that their children could participate in online
classes.

The program demonstrates ARAMCO’s commitment to this key region, home to the largest number of companies related to the energy sector in Spain. For Talal Al-Marri, President and CEO of Aramco Europe, this initiative is “a priority for Aramco, as we are committed to supporting frontline care providers during this challenging time. We have looked to do this across our global locations, in communities where we operate, like the Basque region. Indeed, the company’s response to Covid-19 has been led from the very top, with our global leadership highlighting early on in the crisis, that we would be taking all the necessary precautions to support health and safety during this time.”

In the words of Jesús Esmorís, President of the Energy Advanced Engineering Foundation’s business leaders, ARAMCO’s donation was “a call for solidarity”, garnering the support of other companies to unite behind a common goal. Further notable contributions came from other Energy Advanced Engineering foundation members, including Fluidex, Euskaltel and SD. Eibar.


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