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Qatar donates $5mn to help Florida residents recover from natural disasters

The American foundation’s partnership with Qatar dates back to 2018, when the two sides cooperated in supporting Texas Gulf Coast veterans

Qatar has donated $5 million to the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to support veterans in Florida in their recovery from recent natural disasters, the American entity announced on Wednesday.

In a press release, the American foundation confirmed the new donation from Qatar’s embassy in the United States, targeting efforts in Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida, both of which were hit with a number of natural disasters, including last year’s Hurricane Ian.

“The progress toward recovery that has already been made since Hurricane Ian is remarkable. But as those whose lives have been changed dramatically by the storm know all too well, full recovery from a disaster of that magnitude takes time and long-term resources. Qatar is always ready to come to the aid of our American friends in times of need,” Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the US, said.

The BWF would begin investing $1.26mn in the final quarter of this year towards veterans in the targeted areas in cooperation with other US-based organisations, including the Rutgers University Foundation’s Vets4Warriors, St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) CARES, and Volunteers of America of Florida.

The American foundation plans on investing the remaining Qatari funds in relief programmes and services for veterans across more than 25 counties devastated by Hurricane Ian.

“In partnership with the Embassy of the State of Qatar, we’re committed to continuing this work by supporting long-term hurricane recovery throughout the region and positively impacting those who have honorably served our nation,” Anne Marie Dougherty, Chief Executive Officer of the BWF, said.

Hurricane Ian had ripped through the southwest coast of Florida in late 2022, resulting in an official death toll of 149. The monstrous hurricane has been described as the worst storm to hit the US in its recent history.

The BWF, a leading nonprofit for veterans, has been at the forefront of relief efforts in the aftermath of the hurricane by organising a number of activities and projects in the affected areas. Florida is also home to the third-largest population of veterans in the US.

The American foundation’s partnership with Qatar dates back to 2018, when the two sides cooperated in supporting Texas Gulf Coast veterans and their families following Hurricane Harvey.

The Gulf state is also home to the Al-Udeid Air Base, the largest American military post in the Middle East, home to thousands of US military members.

Last year, US President Joe Biden designated Qatar as a Major Non-NATO Ally in recognition of the strategic partnership between the two countries, especially after the mass 2021 evacuations in Kabul following the Taliban takeover.

At the time, Qatar evacuated more than 80,000 Afghans and foreigners and allowed Washington’s embassy to set up base in Doha following its Kabul exit.