Saudi air bridge takes off to deliver relief to Somalis
Published: Aug 29, 2011 00:06 Updated: Aug 29, 2011 00:06
JEDDAH: A Saudi Air Force cargo plane carrying 20 tons of relief supplies left here Sunday for Somalia as part of the Kingdom's efforts to alleviate the suffering of the famine-hit Somali people. The air force will transport 200 tons of supplies donated by people in the Kingdom.
"The relief supplies will be distributed directly among the famine victims," said Saaed Al-Harithy, adviser to Prince Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior and chairman of the relief committee.
Saudi Air Force will operate 24 flights to transport the relief supplies including food, medicine and tents. Among them, 17 will be from Riyadh and seven from Jeddah. "We are planning to send four cargo flights of relief to Somalia every day," he said.
Al-Harithy said the national fundraising campaign for Somalia was still collecting donations from Saudis and residents in both cash and kind. Interested people may transfer their donations to the unified account No. 6000 at NCB and IBAN No. SA43100020177777000104.
A two-day telethon organized by Saudi Arabian Television last week raised more than SR202 million in addition to hundreds of tons of food, medicine, medical appliances, dates, tents and other supplies.
The nationwide campaign, ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, received a tremendous response. King Abdullah gave SR20 million while Crown Prince Sultan donated SR10 million and Prince Naif SR5 million to the fund.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has commended the Saudi government's generous donation of $60 million for Somalia, adding that it would contribute to reducing the suffering of the Somali people.
"The living conditions of the Somali people are very bad and the donation announced by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah had a big impact on UN organizations working in Somalia," said Fouad Mujalled, WHO's regional adviser for international cooperation. He commended the cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the WHO, adding that it helped in providing necessary assistance to countries inflicted by natural calamities. Several Asian and African countries have benefited from Saudi humanitarian aid, he added.
In a related development, Saudi Aramco announced on Sunday that it would donate a total of SR14 million to the Somalia fund including SR7 million given by its employees. Aramco President Khalid Al-Falih lauded the employees for their humanitarian gesture.
A number of Saudi companies have extended their donations to the people of Somalia during the past week. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Alwaleed bin Talal Foundation, donated SR5 million.
Saudi petrochemical giant SABIC said it would give SR5 million while the Saudi British Bank (SABB) announced a donation of SR1 million. Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman and his family announced a donation of SR2 million.
IDB has offered relief assistance worth $1.2 million for the famine and drought victims, the bank said, adding that it would distribute more relief supplies worth $1 million after Eid Al-Fitr.
During its second mission, the IDB will distribute supplies among women, children and other victims in six provinces south of Somalia. The bank delegation supervised the distribution of emergency aid among famine victims along the Somali-Kenyan border, where 350,000 Somali refugees are living in three camps. Adnan Khalil Basha, secretary-general of the International Islamic Relief Organization Saudi Arabia, said his organization had carried out 25 relief campaigns for Somalis in the past, spending a total of nearly SR180 million. These campaigns, he said, benefited more than 3.98 million Somalis.