The World Bank president says the global economic crisis could hurt poor people in developing countries most severely.

Robert Zoellick said in Washington Sunday that as governments try to fix economic problems at home, they must not forget commitments to help poor countries reach the U.N. Millennium Development Goals to reduce poverty.

Zoellick added that a prolonged credit crunch or a sustained global slowdown raises the risk that poor nations will be seriously hampered in efforts to improve the lives of their citizens.

He said officials from the world's advanced economies agree that the international community should continue to help.

The World Bank estimates that high food and energy prices have pushed another 100 million people into poverty this year alone.

The director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, said the current economic crisis puts additional strain on countries that are already suffering.

Zoellick, Strauss-Khan and officials from the world's seven most industrialized nations discussed the crisis over the past few days in Washington.

Zoellick said the World Bank has a one-point-two billion dollar fund to help countries cope with the impact of high food prices.

He said the the bank's private-sector lending branch, the International Finance Corporation, also is considering creating a fund to help banks in the developing world.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.