RIYADH: Saudi Arabia had “saved the day” for Syrian refugees in Jordan and stabilized the food security situation in Yemen through its generous financial backing, a top UN aid official has said.
Corinne Fleischer, regional director of the World Food Program for the Middle East and North Africa, made her comments following a meeting in Riyadh with Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief).
During talks at the center’s headquarters in the Saudi capital, the two officials discussed strengthening cooperation between KSrelief and the WFP to help fight hunger and poverty and assist countries in the MENA region to meet sustainable development goals.
In a press conference after the meeting, Fleischer said: “KSrelief has provided $1 billion since 2018 to our operations in Yemen. This makes a very, very important difference to the people in Yemen.
“And specifically, this year, thanks to the contribution of KSrelief, we were able to increase our assistance that we previously had to cut because of lack of funds, and we were able to bring it back to the same level for a large number of people.
“The impact of this has been very quick. We have seen that the food security situation of the people has stabilized as they have received full rations again.”
On the situation in Jordan, she added: “KSrelief has really saved our day in Jordan with the Syrian refugees. We were about to have to cut rations to about half the Syrian refugees we are supporting in Jordan. Thanks to the very generous contributions of KSrelief, we can actually continue at the same level.
“I have been in some of these camps and settlements in Jordan, and the situation of these refugees is dire, and they can’t survive without having what the World Food Program provides them, with the help of KSrelief.”
Lauding the center for its ongoing support for the WFP in the region, Fleischer said: “I’m really happy to be here, in this building, where I can finally see where our relationship with KSrelief has gone for years, has been strengthened for years, and has become more important for years.
“The Saudi Arabia government is a very important partner to the WFP, not only because they give us very important and vital contributions to our projects worldwide … but we are also deepening our relationship with KSrelief on drivers of food insecurity and how together we can tackle some of these drivers, bringing the expertise from both organizations together so that we can make a marked impact on people’s lives,” she added.
KSrelief, on behalf of Saudi Arabia, has implemented more than 600 food security sector projects around the world, many of them in partnership with the WFP.