JEDDAH: HANI HAZAIMEH
Published — Friday 12 December 2014
A $104 million (SR390 million) donation from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has helped restore food vouchers for 1.7 million Syrian refugees. The royal gesture is a big boon for refugees, as it will help them cope with the winter season.
In a statement Wednesday, the spokesman of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, expressed profound gratitude for the money, which would help feed millions of refugees from Syria, South Sudan and Somalia.
The World Food Program caused alarm last week when it announced that it would have to cut food vouchers to Syrian refugees. But an unusual social media campaign brought in more than $1 million (SR3.7 million) from the public, while several countries donated millions more. In the end, the $64 million (SR240 million) requested was surpassed.
Meanwhile, King Abdullah has extended a grant of $35 million (SR131.25 million) to help fight Ebola in West Africa. “The Ebola fighting program, initiated by the king and implemented by the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank, comprises providing schools with thermal sensors and medical examination equipment designed to diagnose the disease,” said IDB president Ahmed Mohamed Ali.
These equipment will allow governments in the affected African countries to open schools for the current academic year. Pupils will be examined at entry to ensure they have not contracted the disease, thus reassuring parents about the safety of their children at school, he said.
Thermal sensors and medical examination equipment will also be supplied at airports, railway stations and bus stations to diagnose the disease and ensure early treatment, the IDB president said.
Ali also disclosed plans to open specialized treatment centers in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, adding that they would be designed to serve suspected cases in schools, hospitals, public transport centers, and other crowded areas.
“We have a plan to establish a specialized treatment center in Mali where Ebola appears to have broken out but is not widespread,” he said, adding that the king’s donation would strengthen international efforts to fight Ebola.
Ali commended king’s humanitarian gesture, saying it would help save the lives of many people in Africa. “Whoever saves one life would be regarded as though he has saved the whole mankind,” he said quoting the Holy Qur’an.