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Kuwait pledges $90 million for quake victims

KUWAIT: The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that Kuwait pledged nearly $90 million to support UN efforts to help survivors of the earthquakes that occurred in Syria and Turkey last month. OCHA said in a statement Sunday that this pledge will finance the urgent appeals launched by the UN to both countries, which include contributions from the Kuwaiti government and people.

This funding, which is one of the largest funds provided by one country thus far, will help UN agencies to provide food, education, shelter, protection, health and early recovery services, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene services to nearly 18 million people affected by earthquakes in both countries, it explained. According to the statement, Under-Secretary-General for OCHA Martin Griffiths was thankful and expressed gratitude to Kuwait for this support, indicating that this assistance and contribution from the Kuwaiti government and its people will be provided immediately to the families who have nothing in those stricken areas.

OCHA referred to the statement of the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, that under the directives of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the campaign “Kuwait is beside you” that launched on February 12 collected $67.7 million.

Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah reaffirmed that Kuwait will remain a strong supporter of the efforts made by the UN agencies in providing humanitarian and emergency relief assistance to the affected countries, out of belief in the importance of strengthening international and regional partnerships, especially in humanitarian aspects. Kuwait’s government announced other relief efforts worth $30 million prior to the fundraising campaign, thus bringing the total amount pledged by Kuwait entirely to the victims of the massive earthquake that struck parts of both countries to $97.7 million, distributed equally between them.

The UN announced, in the aftermath of the earthquakes, that it would need $398 million for the immediate response in Syria and one billion dollars for the response in Turkey and so far, 79 percent of the funding for the Syria earthquake appeal has been financed, while the percentage of funding for the Turkey earthquake appeal reached 19 percent. – KUNA

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