Saudi Arabia donates US$10.8 million for UNHCR projects in Pakistan

The Saudi funds will be used to purchase food and relief items for tens of thousands of Pakistani civilians displaced by violence in the north-west.

The beneficiaries of the Saudi funding will be internally displaced Pakistanis, like these women and children.  © UNHCR/H.Caux

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, June 22 (UNHCR) - The Saudi Arabian government has granted more than US$10 million to the UN refugee agency for its operations to help tens of thousands of forcibly displaced people in Pakistan.

The Saudi Fund for Development pledged US$10.8 million to UNHCR under a memorandum of understanding signed on Sunday, World Refugee Day, in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The document was signed by Yousef I. Al-Bassam, vice chairman and managing director of the Fund, and UNHCR Regional Representative Yacoub El Hillo.

"This is a timely and important contribution which is a testimony of the gesture of solidarity of the people and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the people and government of Pakistan at this difficult time," UNHCR Representative to Pakistan Mengesha Kebede said in Islamabad.

UNHCR will use the funds to purchase food and relief items for tens of thousands of Pakistani civilians who were displaced by violence in the north-western of the country in 2008 and last year.

The items include 25,000 tents, 379,200 blankets, 126,400 plastic sheets, 100,000 sleeping mattresses and 25,000 kitchen sets in addition to 20,000 food packs, which will be distributed during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan starting in August.

Some 920,000 civilians are still internally displaced in Pakistan, including 124,000 in special camps.