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Aster Volunteers donates ration kit weighing 50 kg each to 1500 underprivileged families in Yemen. Image Credit:

Dubai: As Yemen continues to grapple with one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, disrupting the lives of the common people, food is the rarest commodity to be found.

Rising to meet the challenge, Aster Volunteers — the global CSR arm of Aster DM Healthcare along with supporting NGOs like Dar Al Shifa Establishment and Governor of Seiyun- Hadramout region, launched a relief mission to distribute ration kits to the people of Yemen.

Aid for 1500 families

Around 1500 families received a ration kit weighing 50kg each, providing for around 360,000 meals. The dry ration kit included rice, wheat flour, sugar, cooking oil, beans, milk powder, pulses and other essential food items to provide a balanced diet for entire families of young children, lactating mothers and other adults, as per UNFP and WHO guidelines. The on-ground mission was led by Jaleel PA, Head — CSR at Aster DM Healthcare and external volunteers who distributed the ration kits in remote communities of Hadramout region near Seiyun International Airport, where Yemenis continue to suffer due to food insecurity, malnutrition, health care gaps, lockdown impact of the Covid-19 crisis and a recent sudden flash flood which led to the destruction of homes and livelihoods.

Over 5,000 individuals provided relief

Through this mission, Aster Volunteers were able to support about 5,000 individuals who received food kits from distribution centres set up in Seiyun, Tarim and Shibam towns from August 15. The food items were procured locally with the help of funds donated by Aster employees and with a matching donation from Aster DM Healthcare.

This gesture comes at a time when food starvation is a very pertinent issue in Yemen, According to the latest figures from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Acute Malnutrition Report, nearly 2.3 million children under the age of 5 are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition this year in Yemen. Out of these, up to 400,000 are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition and could die if they do not receive urgent treatment.

Bringing releif during a humanitarian disaster

Commending the gesture, Dr Azad Moopen, Founder Chairman and Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare said, “Yemen continues to suffer from years of civil war which has resulted in huge devastation — unfortunately, the human disaster is huge, leading to loss of life of civilians through conflict, starvation and death. In fact, Yemen is on the brink of one of the worst famines in history affecting millions including children. The programme by Aster Volunteers is our effort to help the population of Yemen in whatever little way that we can. I salute the team who took up the mission to personally meet and assist the people in distress in spite of the uncertainties and risks.”

Hadramout officials express gratitude

“We thank Aster DM Healthcare and Dar Al Shifa Foundation for arranging the food baskets for about 1500 families in the targeted five districts,” said Engineer Hisham Mohammad Al-Saidi, Hadhramout’s Assistant Undersecretary for the Affairs of the Valley and Desert Directorates.

Fahmi Mohammed Al-Saqqaf, Head of Dar Al-Shifa Charitable Foundation has also expressed his appreciation of the partnership with Aster Volunteers that helped to support the poor and the needy citizens of Yemen.

Aster Volunteers also plan to organise medical education, training and capacity building sessions for local doctors of Yemen that would equip them with the latest information required to meet the health care needs of the local population in Yemen

Aster Volunteers establish rapport with local Yemeni authorities

During the four-day mission, a delegation of Aster Volunteers met senior government officials, academics, students and members of business community to understand the challenges faced by people of this region. In the coming months, Aster Volunteers will engage with local charity organisations and government departments to provide support in several areas, including primary health care, health awareness among remote communities and in the education sector.

The food relief mission is a part of Aster Volunteers’ natural disaster support and relief aid programme which has previously supported Kerala flood victims, famine struck Somalians, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, Syrian refugees in Jordan’s Zaatari camp among others, which has benefited 288,158 people till date.