RIYADH (AFP) — An ongoing Saudi campaign to raise aid for the battered Gaza Strip has so far raised 59.8 million dollars, including 10.7 million dollars from King Abdullah and his crown prince.
The campaign which was launched early in January in response to Israel’s onslaught on the impoverished territory has collected 224.45 million riyals (59.8 million dollars), SPA state news agency reported Monday.
Saad al-Harithi, assistant to the interior minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, who heads the relief campaign, told local newspapers on Monday that around 70 shipments of humanitarian relief weighing some 770 tonnes have been sent by land to Gaza.
The UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA signed an agreement with the organisers of the campaign on Sunday, whereby it will receive 24 million riyals (6.4 million dollars) for reconstruction projects in the Gaza Strip.
Harithi said the agreement comes in line with the campaign directions of distributing aid “only through UN agencies.”
“With this money the UNRWA will be able to feed 550,000 for two months and provide enough fuel for heat to help families cope with the cold,” he said.
King Abdullah had donated 30 million riyals (eight million dollars), while Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz gave 10 million riyals (2.67 million dollars), Harithi said.
Most of Gaza’s infrastructure was left in ruins, the UNRWA said, after three weeks of Israeli attacks that ended on December 18, which left more than 1,300 people dead and 5,300 wounded.
Last week King Abdullah announced the donation of one billion dollars for the reconstruction of Gaza.
“On behalf of the Saudi people, I declare the donation of one billion dollars for programmes to rebuild Gaza,” the Saudi monarch said at the opening session of an Arab summit in Kuwait on January 19.