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Kuwait Fund ready to address Lebanon’s urgent needs

An archive photo released by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) shows the grain silos at Beirut Port, funded through a KFAED loan in 1970, before they were destroyed by last week’s blast at the Lebanese capital.

KUWAIT: Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) announced its readiness to provide aid to Lebanon in the aftermath of the huge blast at Beirut Port, through $30 million in previously-reached agreements after coordinating with Lebanese officials.

KFAED Director Abdul Wahab Al-Bader said yesterday that following a donor conference held to support Lebanon, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah contacted him to initiate contacts with Lebanese officials and set a clear plan taking into full consideration the projects most urgently needed to serve the Lebanese people.

“Those projects include the grain silos which were built in 1970 through a loan the fund provided to Lebanon to cover 85 percent of Lebanon’s needs of grains and flour,” Bader said, noting that some previously-agreed projects will be rescheduled.

Further, Bader stressed that KFAED policies condition supervising any project it funds and that no funds are directly transferred to any funded country’s officials. “The fund will also reconsider repairing Beirut’s main power plant which was badly damaged in the blast after negotiations with Lebanese officials,” he added.

Bader pointing out that the first development project funded in Lebanon was Jounieh Power plant in 1966, and KFAED has so far funded 27 projects in various sectors in Lebanon. Notably, participants in the Lebanon donor conference pledged Sunday to provide €252 million ($297 million) in immediate aid to help the blast victims.

Meanwhile, Kuwait renewed its solidarity and support of Lebanon and its people during the tough circumstances it was facing, as they are struggling to recover from a deadly explosion in Beirut Port, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, as well as social and economic challenges. “Following (last week’s) tragic explosions, His Highness the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah issued immediate nationwide instructions to provide humanitarian aid and assistance to our brothers and sisters in Lebanon,” Kuwait’s Representative to the UN Mansour Al-Otaibi said in his speech during UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (UN OCHA) virtual meeting, on the situation in Lebanon following the explosion.

“During (Sunday’s) international aid conference to support Lebanon organized by France and the United Nations, His Highness the Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah reiterated Kuwait’s readiness to support Lebanon through $30 million of previously committed assistance via the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to be reallocated for food security, in addition to urgent medical and food aid in the amount of $11 million, alongside donations from local Kuwaiti charities,” he added.

“Also, since the instructions issued by His Highness the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince, the Kuwait Red Crescent Society has been dispatching ongoing aid, medical supplies, and food assistance to the Lebanese Red Cross via air bridge in cooperation with government entities, including Kuwait’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health, and Commerce, and in coordination with the Kuwaiti Embassy in Beirut, in order to support local Lebanese relief efforts,” he affirmed.

Otaibi thanked the UN OCHA for its recent report on the situation in Lebanon, which provides details of the humanitarian response after the latest bombings. “In this vein, we recognize and value the assistance and contributions provided by other countries and organizations and urge the rest of the members of the international community to step up and support the people of Lebanon during these challenging times,” he said. “We know that the people of Lebanon are strong and resilient, and they will come together to rebuild and overcome this tragedy, as they have done many times before,” he said.

“However, bearing in mind the scale of devastation we have witnessed as a result of these explosions and the existing challenges brought on by the current pandemic, they cannot and should not have to do this alone,” Otaibi added. “With hundreds of people killed, over 5,000 injured, and more than 150 others who remain missing, international solidarity and support is crucial and necessary,” he added. “The State of Kuwait has long been home to thousands of Lebanese citizens who have greatly contributed to the growth, culture, and prosperity of Kuwait. We will continue to stand by and support you in any way that we can as you work to rebuild your beautiful city,” he said. – KUNA

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