WFP completes US$755 mln appeal with Saudi pledge
ROME – The World Food Programme 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 us all.»
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.