His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has ordered the ninth airlift of much needed relief supplies aimed at helping Rohingya families fleeing violent persecution in Myanmar. The aid was dispatched today from Dubai’s International Humanitarian City (IHC), the world's largest aid depot where UN, international agencies and other NGOs stock relief supplies.
Rohingya families, who are continuing to flee Myanmar in their thousands, have created the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world. To date, more than 600,000 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh with thousands more still stranded in Myanmar.
Since the crisis began, UN agencies and NGOs have ramped up their relief efforts, including food assistance and a massive immunisation campaign that has innoculated more than 700,000 people against cholera. However, more relief supplies are still needed. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has extended an ‘air bridge’, which began on September 12th to ensure food and other relief items got through to the suffering refugees. To date, more than 350,000 Rohingya refugees have received aid supplies originating from Dubai’s International Humanitarian City.
More than 814 metric tons of UN, NGO and other international agencies’ aid has been delivered to Bangladesh from IHC at a cost of over US$2.025 million. Further aid will be delivered in the coming weeks. HH Sheikh Mohammed has also sanctioned the use of his private Boeing 747 for the aid effort with additional C130s and Boeing 757s as needed.
UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson of IHC HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said: “These refugees are facing an incredibly distressing time. The numbers keep rising and very quickly. As a result, many Rohingya families have little access to medicine, food, clean water, shelter, and clothing. I am thankful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for his swift and continuing support for all the member agencies of the IHC who have committed as much aid as they could supply at short notice. We will continue to send as much help as we possibly can for these people and pray that the persecution they face will end soon and they can return to their normal lives.”
The UAE government pledged US$7 million for the Rohingya refugees at the Pledging Conference for Refugee Crisis organised by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and co-hosted in Geneva on October 23 by the European Union and Kuwait. As part of the pledge, the UAE government will continue to operate relief airlifts and provide aid workers, in addition to the efforts of IHC.
Since the airlifts began in September, agencies including UNHCR, WFP, WHO, IOM, IFRC and MSF have provided relief items and humanitarian materials including shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene kits, medical supplies and logistics equipment which have been transported to the region in a massive show of international cooperation to assist the Rohingya refugees. This has been made possible by the generosity of HH Sheikh Mohammed.
The UAE spends more on foreign aid than any other nation on earth compared to its wealth, according to a report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The report noted that the UAE spent Dh15.23 billion worth of development assistance in 2016 alone.