2005 Public Statement
02/01/2005 Saudi aid to tsunami victims in southern Asia The Saudi Arabian Information Office in Washington DC has issued the following statement concerning the Kingdom’s assistance to victims of the earthquake and tsunami that afflicted a number of countries in southern Asia in December 2004:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has made extensive contributions towards alleviating the suffering of the people and countries in the southern part of Asia afflicted by the December 2004 earthquake and tsunami. Saudi Arabia continues to follow the situation closely to determine what further assistance it can provide, and is working with UN agencies to determine how best to proceed in order to help the survivors of this grave human tragedy rebuild their lives over the long term.
The Kingdom immediately announced initial emergency aid of U.S. $10 million, and after assessing the situation, tripled this amount to $30 million.
Saudi planes have to date airlifted about one thousand tons of various commodities such as foodstuffs, tents, medicines and medical supplies, valued at over $5 million. The Saudi Red Crescent Society, cooperating with local societies, has been distributing this relief aid to affected populations in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Maldives.
About $3.5 million has been designated for reconstruction programs in the afflicted countries in cooperation with international and specialized organizations.
Specifically, $1 million has been appropriated for a number of health programs and housing projects to be implemented in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Health Organization.
On January 6, 2005, Saudi Television organized a telethon during which over $86 million was pledged, in addition to extensive donations in kind.
The Kingdom has expressed its intention to fully participate in international reconstruction efforts, through projects to be implemented by the Saudi Development Bank.
The Jeddah-based International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) has provided more than 10,000 families with about 100 tons of rice, sugar, milk, dried fish and cooking oil.
The Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank immediately paid out $10 million, and is pledging $500 million in loans and trade financing to help nations affected by the disaster.
The Coordination Group of Arab National and Regional Development Institutions has pledged to raise $1 billion. The Group was set up in 1975 to provide greater cohesion and effectiveness in the delivery of Arab aid, and is composed of the Sudan-based Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa known as BADEA, the Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Saudi-based Arab Gulf Program for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND), the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank, OPEC Fund for International Development, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and the Saudi Fund for Development.
Over the past three decades, Saudi Arabia has contributed more than 4% of its annual GDP to foreign assistance, making it one of the largest donors worldwide.