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Jump for Yemen fights hunger crisis in Yemen

posted on 24/02/2013: 3140 views

Seventy people plunged 13,000 feet (3,962 metres) at Skydive Dubai as part of the Jump for Yemen initiative, raising more than Dh63,000 for Yemen's worsening hunger crisis.

The initiative which was organised by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Groupon, a daily deal website, included a donation of 70 jumps by Skydive Dubai for the cause.

With all the proceeds going to the WFP emergency operations in Yemen, Elise Bijon, partnerships and business development manager at the UN WFP said that people in Yemen were in dire need of food.

"The needs are still huge — half of the population, which is around ten million people, are either hungry or at the edge of hunger,” she said, adding that Yemen has one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the region.

With the Jump for Yemen initiative being the first of its kind to raise funds for Yemen, it's also a way for people to contribute and make a difference, added Bijon.

"There was a fixed price for the jump of Dh900 which is equivalent to feeding 400 people in Yemen a day,” said Bijon after her jump last week.

Reaching more than five million people with food assistance in 2012, the WFP aims to reach a similar number in 2013 with the help of several initiatives.

"The beautiful thing about this initiative is that with raising money for Yemen, it also helps in raising awareness and it keeps the media momentum alive about the crisis,” said Bijon.

Gulf News also talked to Groupon Middle East CEO Alexander Kappes who was among the 70 people who jumped.

Kappes explained that while Groupon had previously been involved in several charity initiatives, the Jump for Yemen vouchers were sold within hours of launching the deal on the website at midnight on February 4.

"By 10.30am all 70 vouchers were sold,” he said, adding that people were also able to donate between Dh25 to Dh100 for Yemen on the website's portal.

Collaborating with Groupon, Skydive Dubai's Operations Manager Allen Gayton said that after organising a plan to accommodate 70 jumps, the initiative was a great success.

Donors were taken through a safety brief along with a health form and a height and weight questionnaire before being permitted to take the jump.

"Groups of five were transferred up to the airplane which climbs to 13,000 feet where they exit over the drop zone, free fall for about 45 seconds where they open the parachute at 5,500 feet and then get a tranquil travel over the Palm Jumeirah,” said Gayton.

"It was definitely a success — we plan on doing further events like this to help different causes out,” he added. – Gulf News


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