Saudi Arabia donates $500 million to the World Food Program

May 23, 2008

Saudi Arabia yesterday donated $500 million to the World Food Program (WFP), allowing the organization to meet its call for $755 million.

“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,” Executive Director Josette Sheeran said in a press release issued today by the UN humanitarian organization.

WFP had appealed for $755 million to cover the high costs of food and fuel which have risen dramatically since June 2007.

More than 31 countries donated a collective $460 million. The Kingdom’s donation of $500 million closed the gap, leaving an additional $214 million available for other urgent hunger needs.

The half-billion dollar contribution puts 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 throughout the world.

Sheeran said the money will not only offset food and fuel costs, but will provide much-needed food for programs 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 programs in Kenya, Yemen, Ethiopia and Somalia and in many other critical hunger zones.