WASHINGTON - The heads of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have assured developing countries that their needs won't be forgotten in the global efforts to tackle the financial crisis. WB head Robert Zoellick told a press conference Sunday they won't allow the crisis to put recent economic gains in the developing world at risk. Governments must not reject commitments to boost overseas assistance to meet the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals. IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the financial crisis adds to the existing problems of rising food and energy prices in poor countries. The banking system in poorer countries could face volatility because of links with banks in the developed world that have been pushed to the brink by the crisis destroying their capital. With donor aid programmes under pressure due to the financial crisis, the World Bank estimates that up to 100 hundred million people are at risk of falling into poverty because of higher food and energy prices. "Developing and transition countries (DTCs) could suffer serious consequences from any prolonged tightening of credit or sustained global slowdown," said a communique released after the meeting of the Development Committee of the Bank and the IMF. "We are concerned by the impact of the turmoil in world financial markets and the continued high prices of fuel and food," said the communique. "We welcomed member countries' commitment to take comprehensive and cooperative measures to restore financial stability and the orderly functioning of credit markets". The World Bank Group (WBG) and the IMF must help address these critical challenges, in particular the impact on developing countries, and draw lessons from the current crises, said the communique. "It will be crucial to maintain a focus on support for sustainable growth, poverty reduction, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," it added. Zoellick, the World Bank president said after the meeting that his financial institution will help developing countries strengthen their economies, bolster their financial systems and protect the poor against the financial turmoil in international markets. "Developing countries, many of them already hit hard by high prices for energy and essential foodstuffs, risk very serious setbacks to their efforts to improve the lives of their populations from any prolonged tightening of credit or a sustained global slowdown," he said. "The poorest and most vulnerable groups risk the most serious "and in some cases permanent " damage. Over 100 million people have already been driven into poverty this year and that number will grow," he warned. The WB has recently announced 1.2 billion US dollar rapid financing facility is providing immediate help for countries coping with the impact of high food prices on the poor and already has 850 million dollars approved or in the pipeline, said the World Bank chief. "We urge countries to consider making contributions to this fund. Australia has recently contributed 50 million Australian dollars, but we need more," he said. IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn also said that the world should not forget the other crisis, referring to the crisis of rising food and energy prices in poor countries. Strauss-Kahn hailed the eurozone's action plan to cope with the financial crisis. He also urged the US government to implement a 700 billion dollar bailout plan immediately to stabilise the financial markets.