UAE supports WFP airlift life-saving relief to people affected by food insecurity in Central African Republic (CAR)

Thanks to the support of the United Arab Emirates, the World Food Programme (WFP) airlifted life-saving, high energy biscuits from its Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in the International Humanitarian City in Dubai to Bangui in Central African Republic (CAR).

With a cargo of more than 52 metric tons of the nutritious high energy biscuits the plane facilitated by H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, carried enough food to provide emergency assistance rations to approximately 35,000 beneficiaries over a period of two months from August to September.

The Central African Republic (CAR) has one of the most acute humanitarian crises in the world due to years of ongoing conflict. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people are still displaced and face acute food insecurity. A total of 2.36 million people (representing 51% of the population of 4.59 million) are in a situation of significant acute food insecurity.

Requiring no preparation, high-energy biscuits (HEB) offer a quick and easy way to respond to basic nutritional requirements for people in need during emergencies. Nutritious snacks like HEB are an important complement to other foods, where short-term hunger or dietary diversity are concerns. They can also be distributed as life-saving rations in the earliest days of an emergency, when affected communities lack access to basic foods and cooking facilities and rely on immediately consumable energy-dense products to keep them going until complete meals can be provided.

His Excellency Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, the Chairman of the Supreme Committee for the Supervision of IHC said: “This response from the World Food Programme in partnership with the International Humanitarian City is a prime example of the driving purpose behind the Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s, vision that has guided the establishment of the City. Driven by this vision, IHC seeks to accommodate, facilitate and assist the people and organisations who serve those in need, so that they may work together, as one force, for the betterment of humanity.”

The provision of humanitarian assistance in CAR faces multiple challenges due to complex operating environment, supply chain bottlenecks in addition to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latter
has significantly impacted the transport sector and as such caused delays in food delivery in the country. Also, closure of borders with neighbouring countries has caused shortages of staple foods and rising prices. During the heart of rainy season (August-September-October) roads will become impassable, further limiting WFP capacity to respond to potential hot-spots ignited by conflict and floods. Prepositioning HEBs as an immediately consumable dietary complement in areas that might be cut off by rains or floods will help WFP ensure people in need have access to easily consumable food.

“The Central African Republic is in the throes of a dire humanitarian crisis with urgent and sustained help needed for vulnerable families,” said Chris Nikoi, WFP Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “We welcome the UAE Government’s support to ease the transport of vital emergency supplies. This airlift will enable us to avoid potential delays that could hamper the delivery of crucial humanitarian assistance.”

The International Humanitarian City (IHC) hosts WFP’s largest United Nations Humanitarian Depot (UNHRD) in the world, leveraging the UAE’s unrivalled position as a logistics gateway and commercial hub connecting all corners of the world. This is generously supported with funding from the UAE government, which maintains its position among WFP’s top donors worldwide.