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Touched by Kosovo refugees, Argentine philanthropist makes donation to WFP

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ROME - The United Nations World Food Programme has received its largest private donation ever after an Argentine businesswoman and philanthropist gave the food aid agency $500,000 for the Kosovo refugee crisis, WFP officials announced today.
Amalia Lacroze Fortabat, president of the Loma Negra cement manufacturing company, was moved to make the donation after hearing accounts on radio and television of what the refugees suffered when they fled their homes in the mainly ethnic Albanian province of Kosovo.

"I decided to give my contribution to the World Food Programme because it is in the best position to respond to the food needs of all those people who were forced to abandon their homes and belongings and go into exile," Fortabat said.

"They arrived in a foreign country with nothing to eat, and it seemed to me that this was what had to be looked after first, especially for the children," said Fortabat, who also has given financial support to shelters for street kids, schools and help for the handicapped in Argentina.

WFP is engaged in a $86-million emergency operation to give food to 950,000 Kosovars in Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. Since the crisis erupted on 27 March, WFP has distributed bread, ready-to-eat meals, high-energy biscuits and a food basket consisting of flour, cooking oil, sugar, pulses and tinned meat or fish.

Since WFP widened its Kosovo operation last month to feed all the refugees in the three neighbouring states, donor countries have responded generously to the agency's appeal. Fortabat's record donation to WFP is a reflection of the overall generous donor response to WFP's Kosovo emergency appeal.

"This gift will be put to very good use in our efforts to provide food for the needy people of Kosovo," said WFP Executive Director Catherine Bertini. Bertini noted that WFP needs funds to buy enriched food for children and other vulnerable people, ready-to-eat meals, and flour for the mobile bakeries WFP supports.

WFP welcomes private donations to support its work in the Kosovo refugee crisis. Donations may be made to the Chief, REA, Resources Division, World Food Programme, Via Cesare Giulio Viola, 68/70, 00148 Rome, Italy.

The World Food Programme is the United Nations' front-line agency in the fight against global hunger. Last year, its relief workers fed 75 million people including most of the world's refugees. Headquartered in Rome, Italy, WFP has food aid operations in 80 countries around the world.

For more information, please contact:

Trevor Rowe
Spokesman, WFP/Rome
Tel. +39-06 6513-2602

Abby Spring
Information Officer, WFP/New York
Tel. +1-212 963-5196

Christiane Berthiaume
Information Officer, WFP/Geneva
Tel. +41-22 979-9564