World Food Program
completes $755 million appeal with Saudi pledge
(Rome, 23 May 2008) The World Food Program has met its
extraordinary call for US$755 million to compensate for the
increased costs of food and fuel with a US$500 million
donation from The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, received
yesterday and announced today.
“We turned to the world to help the hungry and the world has
been generous,” said Executive Director Josette Sheeran.
“This is an example of what humanitarians around the world
can do when we come together to address problems that affect
WFP had appealed for US$755 million to cover the high costs
of food and fuel which have risen dramatically since June
2007. Donors have been responding overwhelmingly, with 31
countries donating a collective US$460 million to-date, and
now Saudi Arabia closing the gap.
The US$500 million from Saudi Arabia rounds out the appeal,
and leaves an additional US$214 million available for other
urgent hunger needs.
Sheeran said the money will not only offset food and fuel
costs, but will secure much-needed food for programmes
throughout Africa and other parts of the world. In
particular, WFP will be able to continue to providing food
for millions of children enrolled in school and therapeutic
feeding programmes in Kenya, Yemen, Ethiopia and Somalia and
in many other critical hunger zones.
“The Saudi donation will keep many people from dying, others
from slipping into malnutrition and disease, and will even
help to stave off civil unrest,” Sheeran said.
The half-billion dollar contribution puts the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia at the forefront of the large-scale,
high-level, multilateral UN action by the global community,
focused on emergency and longer-term solutions to the high
food and fuel price crisis which is sweeping the globe.
Rising food costs have left in their wake increased levels
of hunger and poverty – and in some cases - provoking riots
and destabilising governments.
High food prices represent the biggest challenge that WFP
has faced in its 45-year history with about 130 million
being pushed into hunger.
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