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Mohammed bin Rashid launches urgent food relief project for one million victims worldwide

posted on 27/07/2014: 1484 views

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has launched an international humanitarian project to provide urgent food relief to those affected around the world.

He also directed immediate start of the project in Gaza Strip, which is currently witnessing the Israeli brutal assault, in cooperation with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme. The first plane, loaded with 100,000 meals, will kick off in the coming days, and will be followed by more flights according to the field conditions of the displaced people in Gaza Strip.

The new relief project is named after 'Salma', the first Emirati woman nurse who served for more than 50 years to save people's lives in the UAE. Salma Project, a unique programme, will ensure provision of preserved Halal meat for victims of natural disasters, wars or conflicts in a timely manner within an integrated programme that ensures sustainability.

While launching the new relief project, Sheikh Mohammed said, "Our relief work in the U.A.E. is diverse and widespread. Through this new relief project we aim to bridge up a gap in the international relief work with the aim to ensure an immediate high quality Halal Food for those affected to help them overcome starvation." He added that the provision of food aid to Gaza Strip is only a part of an integrated Emirati programme, which includes provision of medication, food, medical supplies, and reconstruction.

He added, "This is the time for action and relief provision, not time for talking too much, and we call upon all countries and nations to support the struggle of Palestinians in Gaza." Sheikh Mohammed added, "The UAE, today represents the largest humanitarian global centre, where shipment of more than half of the humanitarian and relief assistance is shipped through the country. The UAE will continue to discharge its international humanitarian duty, as well as expanding its role in the global relief fields, as this represents the U.A.E.'s fundamental principles and values." 'Salma Project' comes within the partnership among the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF), Noor Awqaf, a foundation which supports Awqaf development all over the world. It was also set up in cooperation with the World Food Programme with the aim to manage and produce certified long-term and 100 per cent Halal packages. The International Humanitarian City (IHC) will be the strategic partner to provide the logistic support to the initiative throughout the year.

Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Chairman of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) said, " The initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid is the first of its kind in regard to the rapid response to provide food for affected people worldwide, due to wars, natural disasters or others." He added that reports say that four out of five countries vulnerable to natural disasters are countries with Muslim majorities, pointing out that according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees' Office, 70 per cent of the total number of refugees are Muslims- a move that requires a launch of a relief programme compliant to the Islamic Sharia to meet the needs of those affected, taking into account the achievement of sustainability through taking advantage of al-Adha sacrificial meat and other charitable donations for the benefit of all.

Al Gergawi added that Sheikh Mohammed has directed the initiative's team to immediately prepare the first batch of assistance that includes 100,000 food meals for the people of Gaza in the coming days to meet their needs. The coordination is underway with UNRWA to deliver them to the beneficiaries.

He said the Concept of Islamic Economy sought by Dubai to become the Islamic Capital "is not only confined to provision of Islamic Sharia compliant financial products, but also the food, intellectual and marketing products. Therefore the provision of relief food products in cooperation with specialised agencies adds another new dimension to the relief work, and to the Islamic Economy as well. Many institutions worldwide could be become part of this effort." For his part, Sayed Agha, UN Secretary-General Representative in the UAE said the UAE initiative to dispatch 100, 000 meals to the displaced and refugees in Gaza Strip "boosts the UN and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) efforts in an attempt to contain dire conditions of hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza." He added that the UAE initiative is part and parcel of other UAE urgent relief initiatives in Gaza Strip, adding that the quality of food items sent by the UAE to Gaza meet the requirements there in terms of easy transport, proper storage and delivery.

Abdullah al-Wardat, Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) office in the UAE said that the urgent relief food programme launched by the UAE "represents and advanced stage in meeting urgent needs of those affected wherever they are. The delivered meals are rich with protein. With the use of facilities of International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai, the programme will assist WFP to meet the relief requirements effectively, better and quickly." Hussein Al-Qamzi, Chairman of Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, said the Salma initiative, compliant with the Islamic Sharia, has been launched in partnership between the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, and Noor Investment Group, with the aim to allow people send donations to those in need, while the profits resulting from the treatment of secondary products from cattle and livestock such as wool, leather and fat will go to the endowment to cover the administrative and process costs, as well as potential development of financial assets to provide food aid permanently. Therefore, through a single contribution from a donor, continuity of giving and reduction of waste can be maintained.

The Salma initiative, launched by Sheikh Mohammed to promote the Islamic rituals related to the sacrificial animals, seeks to increase the effectiveness of alms food to reach the largest possible number of people affected in a transparent, sustainable and cost-effective manner.

The packaging specifications of urgent relief food commensurate with the conditions of disasters and calamities. They are effective in terms of cost of production, lighter and easier to transport and deliver. The packages, which were originally developed for NASA, bear the harsh conditions, highly resistant to pressure, temperature and can be stored for up to three years without affecting the quality and freshness of the content.

Shaima Al Zarouni, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai International Humanitarian City, said that through its partnership in this unique initiative, Dubai strengthens its position as one of the largest humanitarian facilities in the world. The city's location is best suited globally to provide urgent and emergency relief given its rapid aviation network that links Dubai to all world points in a few hours.

She stressed the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to make Dubai capital of the global humanitarian action, citing that "This vision has become a reality."– Emirates News Agency, WAM -


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