UAE sends 5.4 million meals to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

One Billion Meals campaign issues smart vouchers to 20,000 people living in Cox’s Bazar camps

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The UAE’s One Billion Meals campaign has distributed 5.4 million meals to people living in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.

The food distribution, in the form of instantly redeemable smart vouchers, was carried out in collaboration with UN World Food Programme.

Using electronic codes sent to their mobile phones, beneficiaries were able to purchase food and drink from WFP-certified shops, supermarkets and bakeries.

“For the One Billion Meals initiative to reach beneficiaries in one of the largest refugee camps in the world is a logistical challenge by all means,” said Sarah Al Nuaimi, Director of Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives.

“However, MBRGI, in partnership with UN’s WFP, succeeded in overcoming this challenge and distributing the equivalent of 5.4 million meals to individuals and families in the Cox’s Bazar camps in Bangladesh.”

It was not revealed when the distribution work began.

World’s largest refugee settlement

Cox’s Bazar in south-east Bangladesh is the world’s largest refugee settlement, hosting nearly 1.2 million people accommodated in 34 overcrowded camps run by local and international NGOs.

About 750,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar in 2017 to escape persecution and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the military. Human rights groups have described their treatment as genocide.

They were already 250,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh, with limited access to aid and no opportunities for education or livelihood.

“Hunger is on the rise worldwide, and threatening more than 800 million people,” said Mageed Yahia, WFP Representative to the GCC Region.

“In Bangladesh, the 2022 Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis appealed for more than $881 million to support approximately 1.4 million people, including Rohingya refugees and most affected host communities.

“Hence, the distribution operations of the One Billion Meals initiative, in collaboration with WFP, arrived at an ideal time, offering food support to the underprivileged.”

One Billion Meals initiative is the largest of its kind in the region

The One Billion Meals initiative is the largest of its kind in the region, providing food and helping to combat hunger in 50 countries.

The campaign helped the programme reach those most in need, especially women, children, refugees and displaced people.

During Ramadan 2020, a 10 Million Meals campaign supported communities hit by Covid-19 across the UAE, and in Ramadan 2021, the 100 Million Meals campaign provided food parcels and instant smart vouchers to millions of people across four continents.

The One Billion Meals initiative, launched in 2022, was an extension of the 100 Million Meals campaign.

Updated: February 28, 2023, 11:10 AM