JEDDAH, 15 August 2004 — Saudi Arabia has allocated humanitarian aid worth SR40 million ($10.7 million) for the strife-torn Darfur region in western Sudan, according to Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Suwailem, the head of the Saudi Red Crescent Society.
Suwailem said three aircraft will fly today from Riyadh to Darfur, carrying 70 tons of food and medicine, in addition to a medical team.
The Kingdom has voiced support for the efforts by the Sudanese government and the African Union to end the conflict in Darfur. A Cabinet meeting chaired by Crown Prince Abdullah on Aug. 9 rejected any move for foreign military intervention in Darfur or slapping economic sanctions on Sudan.
Riyadh has also warned that the language of threats would only complicate the situation in the impoverished region. On July 30, the UN Security Council gave the Sudanese government 30 days to bring Darfur crisis under control or face international action.
Saudi Arabia recently sent a delegation to Darfur under the leadership of Dr. Suwailem to assess the requirements of Darfur’s residents. The delegation met with top Sudanese officials including President Omar Bashir.
A delegation from the Makkah-based Muslim World League, headed by Dr. Abdullah Al-Turki, its secretary-general, also visited the region and emphasized the need to support the Khartoum government to resolve the Darfur crisis.
The International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), an affiliate of MWL, has so far sent emergency aid worth SR2.5 million for the people of Darfur.
“We have distributed foodstuffs among 2,000 families in Mousiya refugee camp, which will be enough to meet their needs for one month,” Dr. Adnan Basha, IIRO’s secretary-general, told the Saudi Press Agency.
He said the organization had also rehabilitated 30,000 refugees and distributed among them foodstuffs required for a month. “We are also in the process of digging 20 wells in areas which face water shortage,” he said.
Basha called upon philanthropists to donate generously for the people of Darfur. Donations can be deposited in IIRO’s account No. 77702 in National Commercial Bank or 3/77702 in Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation.