* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
ROME – The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, today congratulated His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, as the UN paid tribute to his leading support for humanitarian causes, particularly the Syria crisis.
"The United Nations Secretary-General has presented His Highness with a certificate of appreciation for his tremendous efforts, and I also cannot stress too highly what an immense service the Amir has done, not least by hosting two donor conferences for Syria that highlighted to the world the plight of innocent people who have lost everything," said Cousin.
"The two Kuwait conferences were landmarks in mobilizing the international community," she added.
WFP also welcomed a generous contribution from the State of Kuwait of US$35 million announced on Monday to help provide much-needed food assistance to tens of thousands of Syrians both inside and outside their country.
"We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the State of Kuwait and its people as they contribute to this humanitarian crisis for the second year in a row, enabling WFP to feed millions of vulnerable Syrians affected by the crisis," said Muhannad Hadi, WFP's regional emergency coordinator for the Syrian crisis.
Kuwait has played a leading role in supporting WFP's Syria operation throughout the three years of conflict. In addition to hosting the two successful pledging conferences - this year and in 2013 - both of them critical to raising urgently needed funds, Kuwait has shown huge generosity towards UN agencies - with for instance a contribution of US$500 million announced on 7 April. With yesterday's contribution for WFP, Kuwait has provided WFP with US$77 million in the past two years in support of the beleaguered Syrian people.
Funded entirely by voluntary contributions, WFP needs to raise more than US$40 million a week to finance what is its biggest and most complex operation. WFP is scaling its emergency food assistance to feed over 7 million Syrians in urgent need of food assistance this year. These include 4.25 million people inside Syria and over 2.9 million refugees in neighbouring countries.
# # #
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. On average, WFP reaches more than 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries each year.
Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media and @wfp_mena
For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org): Abeer Etefa, WFP/Damascus, Mob. +20 1066634352. Tel. +202 2528 1730 ext. 2600 Dina El Kassaby, WFP/Damascus, Mob. +963 958 882 303 or +962 7 9867 4638 Laure Chadraoui, WFP/Beirut-Amman, Mob. +962795915230 and +9613489925 Jane Howard, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 65132321, Mob. +39 346 7600521 Elisabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 9178564, Mob. +41 79 4734570 Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 8241112