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Aid | Malakand, FATA to get $72m

The government of Saudi Arabia has announced aid of $72 million for education and health facilities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

PESHAWAR: The government of Saudi Arabia has announced a $72 million (Rs6.26 billion) aid package for the development of education, health facilities and irrigation canals in Malakand Division and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

The announcement was made during the visit of a Saudi delegation to the World Food Programme (WFP) centre in Peshawar on Saturday, during which Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) chief Abdul Rahman Al-Shaibi and Deputy Head of Mission Jassim Al-Khalidi informed that they had requested the Economic Affairs Division for permission to finance $72 million worth of projects in Malakand and Fata.

The amount would be utilised to rebuild schools and health centres in the region, they said, adding that an agreement for this purpose had been drafted and would be signed shortly.

The delegation expressed satisfaction over the transparent distribution of food items in conflict-hit areas. “I am pleased to be here and to see that the right people are receiving the goods. The distribution system is working very well,” Al-Shaibi remarked.

He said the World Food Programme (WFP) is not only providing food items to the victims, but it is also assisting them in re-establishing their lives. “Our assistance will continue even after the refugees return to their homes,” he added.

Al-Khalidi was of the opinion that Pakistan should monitor the quality of food items being provided to the victims, which come from abroad before they are handed over to hubs, from where they are distributed among victims.

The delegation was informed that over 2.6 million people in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had benefitted from a Saudi donation of $24 million to WFP in 2010, which was used to buy and distribute flour, pulses, oil and biscuits for the victims.

Moreover, 25 mobile storage units were installed at various locations in the country which provide a storage capacity of 12,000 metric tons for food and non-food items.

WFP spokesperson Amjad Jamal said WFP is providing food items to 1,500 families in K-P on a daily basis, while 14,000 families in Peshawar receive food items every month.

“Around 80,000 families have been hit by militancy in the province, while the number of beneficiaries is around 700,000,” he explained.

Later, the delegation, accompanied by WFP Officer-in-charge Majeed Yahya visited Nowshera to inspect the distribution process of food items among victims.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2011.

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