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Groupon and Skydive Dubai join forces to aid humanitarian crisis

Non-profit initative ‘Jump for Yemen’ to donate proceeds to UN World Food Programme

Gulf News

Dubai: In efforts to raise funds for Yemen, Groupon, the deal website, and Skydive Dubai have joined forces to launch the ‘Jump For Yemen’ initiative in support of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

With around 45 per cent of Yemen’s population of 23.8 million living on under $2 (Dh7.35) a day, half of the country’s population is either chronically hungry or on the edge of hunger. The initiative, which provided food assistance to almost 5 million Yemenis in 2012, aims to give all its proceeds to the WFP in the country in order to reach a similar number.

Groupon ran a one-day promotion on Monday, encouraging people to donate to WFP’s operations. The first 70 people who donated Dh900 were given the opportunity to experience a skydiving tandem jump that Skydive Dubai will host on February 18.

The promotion, which was launched at midnight, sold all 70 tickets by 10.30am, said a spokesperson from Groupon. “We expected them to sell out very quickly as it’s an initiative that is the first of its kind and is for a good cause,” he said.

Donations of as little as Dh25 are encouraged as they can help WFP provide food assistance to more than 10 food-insecure people for a day in Yemen.

The ‘Jump for Yemen’ initiative will also help increase awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which is increasing poverty in the country and has resulted in 22 per cent of the population being severely short of food.

Due to the deteriorating conditions, the WFP has twice this year scaled up its emergency assistance. Increasing the number of beneficiaries under the Emergency Safety Net (ESN) programme from an initial 1.2 million at the beginning of 2012 to 1.8 million people in June, the WFP increased it once more to almost 3.9 million in September 2012.

With several projects and initiatives being carried out, the total number of people WFP assisted across all its operations by the end of 2012 reached almost 5 million, at a cost of $225 million.