The Weeknd has donated $2.5million towards the United Nations World Food Program’s humanitarian response in Gaza.
The singer, 33, real name Abel Tesfaye, who is a WFP Goodwill Ambassador, made the donation through his XO Humanitarian Fund – with the funds equal to to four million emergency meals.
The donation will fund the delivery of 820 metric tons of food parcels that could feed more than 173,000 Palestinians for up to two weeks.
In a statement WFP’s Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe Region, Corinne Fleischer: said: ‘This conflict has unleashed a humanitarian catastrophe beyond reckoning. WFP is working round the clock to provide aid in Gaza but a major scale up is needed to address the desperate level of hunger we are seeing.
‘Our teams need safe and sustained humanitarian access, and continued support from donors to reach as many people as we can.
The Weeknd has donated $2.5million towards the United Nations World Food Program’s humanitarian response in Gaza
‘We thank Abel for this valuable contribution towards the people of Palestine. We hope others will follow Abel’s example and support our efforts.’
More than one million people in Gaza are without adequate food supplies, with the WFP providing canned food, pasta, bread and date bars.
In 2021 Tesfaye donated $1million to the United Nations World Food Programme to help fight famine in Ethiopia.
The Grammy-winner said he was heartbroken about what was happening in the African nation, amid reports of ethnic cleansing and the displacement of over 2million people in the Tigray region of the country, per New York Times.
‘My heart breaks for my people of Ethiopia as innocent civilians ranging from small children to the elderly are being senselessly murdered and entire villages are being displaced out of fear and destruction,’ he wrote.
‘I will be donating $1 million to provide 2 million meals through the United Nations World Food Programme and encourage those who can to please give as well,’ The Weeknd went on.
Since the launch of the XO Humanitarian Fund in March 2022, WFP’s Goodwill Ambassador The Weeknd has raised and pledged $5 million to provide food and support to millions of people experiencing hunger across the globe.
He became a Goodwill Ambassador in October 2021. He will also donate $1 per concert ticket sold in 2024 from his After Hours ’til Dawn tour to his humintarian fund.
Palestinians have faced starvation as shelves empty – with the donation providing four million emergency meals
The WFP previously warned that widespread food insecurity across Gaza was quickly becoming a serious crisis.
Spokesperson Alia Zaki said: ‘There is a real threat of malnutrition and people starving.
‘There is some food that’s still available but people can’t reach it. The situation is catastrophic.
Hopes that Israel and Hamas would be able to negotiate a fresh truce to stem the bloodshed in Gaza were dashed on Friday after the Palestinian group did not produce a new list of hostages it is willing to release.
The families of hostages still being held in Gaza on Friday said the end of a truce that saw 80 kidnapped Israelis freed was a ‘very hard blow’ to bear.
Under an agreement between Hamas and Israel, the hostages were being released at a rate of 10 each day, forcing the families to endure an agonising waiting game.
But as the pause in the conflict ended early this morning, there was bitter disappointment for the families of those still not freed. This disappointment quickly turned to despair and fear as the IDF restarted its brutal bombing campaign of Hamas targets up and down the Gaza Strip.
‘We saw a chance for people to come out, be reunited with their families and resume their old lives,’ said Ilan Zharia, the uncle of 20-year-old Eden Yerushalmi, one of the women not to have been released.
His niece and other young women detainees had been ‘very close to being freed’, he said, speaking at an event in Tel Aviv organised by the Hostage Families Forum.
Instead the resumption of hostilities has quickly brought about fresh bloodshed – Gazan health authorities this afternoon reported 109 Palestinians had been killed in a matter of hours since the end of the peace deal early this morning.
The bleak fate faced by those living in Gaza was put into perspective by former RAF Air Vice-Marshal Sean Bell, who told Sky News up to 75,000 Gazans could be killed before Israel is able to defeat Hamas.
Civilians wait in front of a partially collapsed, still operational bakery in Nuseirat refugee camp in Deir al Balah, Gaza, on November 4, 2023
During the truce, which began one week ago, Hamas and other militants in Gaza released more than 100 hostages, most of them Israelis, in return for 240 Palestinians freed from prisons in Israel. Virtually all of those freed were women and children.
A total of 81 Israelis, including dual nationals, were freed during the truce. Another 24 hostages – 23 Thais and one Filipino – were also released, including several men.
The 240 Palestinians released were mostly teenagers accused of throwing stones and firebombs during confrontations with Israeli forces. Several were women who were convicted by military courts of attempting to attack soldiers.