Topic: Saudi concern for victims raises millions

aboo.bilal    -- 08-07-2006 @ 2:23 AM
Saudi concern for victims raises millions

By Mariam Al Hakeem, Correspondent

Riyadh: A telethon for Lebanon prompted by Saudi State Television generated over 120 million Saudi riyals (about Dh117 million) towards the early hours on Thursday.

The telethon started at 1pm local time on Wednesday and gathered 9.245 million riyals (about Dh9 million) in donations from Saudi and foreign residents within the first two hours.

Saudi Fransi Bank Chairman Ebrahim Al Touqi, was the first to donate, giving 1 million riyals (about Dh0.9 million).

A Saudi resident told the television presenter: "This is the last 50 riyal note (about Dh48.9) in my pocket" as he pledged the money for donation. "I don't even have a car, but I don't believe I can't give this money to the Lebanese people."

Sahar Al Shihri said that she donated her IPO money instead of subscribing with it. "I came to the ATM machine and saw the announcement for donations. Instead of subscribing to King Abdullah Economic City IPO, I donated the money," she said.

The telethon follows an announcement by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz on Tuesday. He pledged a $500 million (about Dh1,836 million) grant for the reconstruction of Lebanon and $250 million (about Dh918 million) for Palestine.

King Abdullah further promised $1 billion (about Dh3.6 billion) to the Central Bank of Lebanon to aid the Arab tourism destination's economy. On Wednesday, King Abdullah donated 10 million riyals (about Dh9.7 million) and Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz donated 5 million riyals (about Dh4.8 million).

This is the 10th Saudi telethon to generate donations from the public for a grief-stricken country.

When Pakistan was hit by a devastating earthquake last year, the Saudi residents donated over 450 million riyals (about Dh440 million) in cash and kind.

Gulf News, Published: 07/28/2006 12:00 AM (UAE)

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