DUBAI // From war zones to areas devastated by natural disasters, UAE generosity will help hundreds of thousands of people through this holy month.
In the run-up to Ramadan, as well as during the month itself, UAE-based charitable organisations have been helping those in need around the world.
An ambitious campaign by the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation is aiming to provide iftar and suhoor meals to more than 600,000 people in 62 countries this Ramadan. It has handed out one million meals so far in the UAE.
From the Republic of Burundi, in East Africa, to France and Colombia, the project spans the globe and is bringing joy and relief to the most needy.
“It’s wonderful that the UAE is doing this during Ramadan,” said Faisal Akram, a Pakistani who works as an accountant in Dubai.
“The UAE has helped Pakistan over the years, especially when the country has suffered flooding and earthquakes and it’s really appreciated.”
All aid handed out by the foundation has been ordered by President Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
It has provided 135,000 bags of flour in six regions of Pakistan, so far this Ramadan.
Mosques and Islamic institutions in Paris received bags of food that were distributed to the underprivileged in the city.
Almost 1,000 meals and food baskets were sent to needy families in Burundi, with about 400 food baskets and 500 iftar meals given to those in need in the capital, Bujumbura.
Thousands of dates were distributed across the Seychelles by the foundation, which also gave 800 food packs to the needy in Gambia.
A further 5,000 food baskets were distributed by the foundation, Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), Dubai Charity Association and Sharjah Charity Association in Dakar, Senegal.
The aid was distributed to poor, rural areas and parts of the capital, as well as at mosques, orphanages, prisons and schools for people with disabilities.
In Colombia, the UAE Embassy oversaw the setting up of charity banquets for the Iftar Project, implemented at the Abu Bakr and Al Qurtubi mosques in Bogota, as well as Cucuta Mosque in San Andres island.
Closer to home, the Khalifa Foundation together with the ERC supplied at least 1,200 food parcels to more than 6,200 Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian families in Sidon in southern Lebanon.
Food parcels have also been provided to 1,200 families in Tyre and Yarin also in south Lebanon.
The ERC gave Dh50,000 in financial aid to its Malaysian counterpart for an iftar project in the country.
And the Red Crescent has sent more than 830 tonnes of aid and supplies to parts of Yemen affected by the conflict between Houthi rebels and the coalition that includes the UAE.
A number of flights containing medical and food aid were also organised by the Khalifa Foundation to the country. This followed a shipment by the foundation of 400 tonnes of food and 300 barrels of diesel fuel to Yemen’s Socotra island in May.
About 200 Ramadan aid packs were sent to poor families in the Tunisian town of Tuwarif and a further 2,000 food packages are to be distributed to families in the north-west of the country.
The Khalifa Foundation is not alone in providing support during Ramadan. Ten thousand packages containing 20 kilograms each of food rations have been distributed in Egypt by the Al Maktoum Foundation.
It is the second phase of a project to help underprivileged families in the country, and is backed by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.
More than 300 food parcels will be distributed in Cairo, Beheira, Qina and Giza.
The foundation earlier also sent 60 sewing machines to needy families in the country.
Elsewhere, the Emirati Charity Works Authority office in Palestine launched the Zayed Humanitarian Work Day.
This includes creating Ramadan banquets at Al Aqsa Mosque and the distribution of 10,000 iftar and suhoor meals.
In Gaza, the Khalifa Foundation provided thousands of food baskets to families whose homes have been completely destroyed, while the UAE Suqia Water Aid campaign, which aims to provide clean drinking water to 3,000 orphans, has also been implemented.
Yesterday, Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah praised UAE organisations for helping orphans and poor families in Palestine and said president Mahmoud Abbas also appreciated the efforts made, state news agency Wam reported.