Saudi Arabia donates US$1 million to UNICEF relief operations in Lebanon
DUBAI/BEIRUT/AMMAN, 15 August 2006 – As a result of proceeds generated through a 26 July telethon, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today donated US$1 million to support the UNICEF relief efforts in Lebanon. The fund-raiser telethon received enthusiastic contributions from the Saudi public, as well as substantial donations from the private sector.
Funds donated to UNICEF will help reinforce on-the-ground activities as per the UN consolidated flash appeal launched last 24 July, which requires donors and the international community to provide $150 million to meet humanitarian needs over the next three months in Lebanon. UNICEF’s immediate requirements are budgeted at a total of US$25 million, to respond to the immediate needs of displaced children in the areas of health, water and sanitation and psychosocial support.
“As much as the Saudi contribution allows for our immediate efforts to advance, their support is also vital in enabling us to carry out our longer-term development work in favor of affected children" said Roberto Laurenti, UNICEF’s Representative in Lebanon.
The 30-day old conflict has left over 900,000 people displaced amidst the wreckage of damaged infrastructure and a worsening shortage of essential goods and services. This has been accompanied by soaring prices, with many commodities more than doubling in price over the past few days, including food, medical items and fuel.
“This donation brings the total contributions by the Saudi Relief Committees to more than US$6 million over the past two years, which testifies to the strong partnership that has evolved in the service of children in need, no matter where emergencies hit,” added June Kunugi, UNICEF Gulf Area Representative.
UNICEF has provided water, hygiene and medical supplies to thousands of children and their families throughout Lebanon. A campaign to immunize tens of thousands of children displaced by the conflict in Lebanon is underway amid fears that the mass population displacement provoked by the crisis could trigger an outbreak of measles, polio or other diseases. The Ministry of Health, supported by UNICEF, the World Health Organization and a variety of NGO partners, aims to ensure that children living in schools and other public places are protected against illness. In addition to the vaccination campaign, since the start of the crisis in Lebanon, UNICEF has provided:
- Essential drugs (including ORS and lice treatment) for children, beneficiaries reached: 50,000;
- 48 water tanks with a 5,000-litre capacity, to the Beirut, Aley and Chouf areas, beneficiaries reached: 23,347 persons;
- 237 water kits (containing collapsible containers, purification tablets and other items) throughout Beirut, Mount Lebanon, the South, North, and Bekaa, internally-displaced persons (IDPs) reached: 78,000;
- 3,150 boxes of water purification tablets to Beirut and the South, IDPs reached: 63,315;
- 26,396 bags or bars of soap to Beirut, Mount Lebanon, the South, North, Bekaa, IDPs reached: 100,772;
- 263,608 diapers to Beirut, Mount Lebanon, the South, North, and Bekaa, IDPs reached: 88,235.
For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
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