Dubai, UAE: As part of the ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) announced the allocation of an additional 19 million meals to the Gaza Strip.
In collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme, low-income families and individuals will receive food vouchers, equivalent to 19 million meals, to empower them to purchase a variety of nutritious and locally produced food.
The distribution comes in support to vulnerable groups including those impacted by the recent violence that displaced thousands in Palestine, including 77,000 who took refuge in UN schools and headquarters and additional 40,000 who fled to friends and family homes in the Gaza Strip. WFP’s e-vouchers enable beneficiaries to shop from a network of contracted supermarkets in the amounts that sustain their households, providing them a chance at a dignified life. They inject much needed cash into Gaza`s ailing economy supporting the resilience of small businesses in the face of shocks.
The ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign, launched earlier in Ramadan to provide food aid for disadvantaged individuals and families across 30 countries, had already allocated 9 million meals to be distributed in Palestine. Food aid has so far reached beneficiaries in the West Bank.
Sara Al Nuaimi, Director of MBRGI, said, “through the 19 million meals, which will be added to the previously allocated 9 million meals to the West Bank, we aim to reach 207,385 people in Gaza with urgent food support over a period of one month.”
Al Nuaimi added, “about 70 percent of families in the Gaza Strip are facing food insecurity, according to WFP figures. The additional food support, provided through the ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign, is a message of solidarity from the UAE to those most affected by this difficult reality.”
“We value the additional AED 10 million contribution from MBRGI as it comes at a time when food needs have increased significantly in Palestine due to the recent upsurge in conflict” said Mageed Yahia, Director of WFP office in the UAE and Representative to the GCC. “This funding will enable WFP to continue providing a much-needed support to food insecure families who have been displaced and staying at hosting families and many others whose homes and livelihoods have been affected, without which they have nothing to feed their children” he added.
Food Access in Palestine
High poverty and unemployment rates in Palestine hinder families and individuals from accessing food made available in markets. Of the total five-million-person population, two million people – 1.4 million in Gaza and 600,000 in the West Bank – are estimated to be severely food insecure.
The coronavirus pandemic has accentuated the already poor socio-economic conditions of Palestinians, particularly vulnerable groups including women, children, the elderly, and people of determination.
The situation in the Gaza Strip is especially concerning due to its population density, decayed infrastructure and adverse living conditions. Gaza’s population of almost two million people, living under intense economic siege for more than 13 years, have been further isolated by COVID-19-related movement restrictions.
100 Million Meals
To carry out the ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign, the MBRGI is collaborating with the WFP, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, the Food Banking Regional Network, and local charity organizations and authorities in the 30 beneficiary countries.
With the help of 12 food banks and nine humanitarian institutions, MBRGI ensures food parcels, carrying basic food items, are delivered to the doorstep of vulnerable communities in 30 countries.
The ‘100 Million Meals’ concluded in May with more than double its target, raising donations to provide food parcels, equivalent to 216 million meals, in less than a month. The campaign is part of the UAE’s active contribution to global efforts to urgently tackle hunger and malnutrition, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
WFP is distributing an estimated 39 million meals, out of the total contributions of the ‘100 Million Meals’, to some 399 ,000 beneficiaries in Palestine, Jordan, and Bangladesh where its facilities and field operations are based.
Beneficiary countries include Palestine, Lebanon, Sudan, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Angola, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Burundi, Benin, Brazil, Kosovo, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.