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Abu Dhabi: A sense of compassion and charity loomed large in Abu Dhabi, as dozens of generous bidders put forth millions of dirhams to feed the hungry around the world.

Five exclusive vehicle plate numbers, and 10 unique mobile numbers, were quickly acquired by attendees at the second edition of the Most Noble Numbers charity auction, which coincided with Zayed Humanitarian Day. The most exclusive lot, vehicle plate number 2-2, was sold for a staggering Dh23.3 million.

All proceeds will now be donated to the 1 Billion Meals initiative, a campaign by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) that seeks to provide food support to the underprivileged, refugees, displaced peoples and individuals affected by crises in 50 nations around the world.

Heartwarming response

During the first three weeks of Ramadan, the campaign has already raised 200 million.

Sara Al Nuaimi, director of the MBRGI office, said the 1 Billion Meals campaign is especially important because 800 million people around the world are still subjected to hunger and starvation.

“Every 10 seconds, there are 25,000 people who die from causes related to hunger and malnutrition, including 10,000 children. There are also 52 million hungry people in the Middle East and North Africa region alone. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid has therefore raised the bar this year, aiming to provide food support to a billion people, following the success of last year’s 100 Million Meals campaign,” Sara Al Nuaimi, director of the MBRGI Office, told Gulf News ahead of the auction.

“Everyone wants to participate this year, from philanthropists to businessman and companies and individuals. The response has been heartwarming,” she added.

Fierce bidding

The auction in Abu Dhabi was organised in collaboration with Emirates Auction, Abu Dhabi Police, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du), and Emirates Telecommunication Group Company PJSC (Etisalat). It was held at the Emirates Palace, where the jubilation at obtaining fancy numbers coincided with the empathy to help the needy and food-starved around the world.

Bidding started with a definite momentum for Lot 1, mobile number 0581111114 by du, which was sold after a strong fight for Dh130,000, having started at just Dh10,000. Paddle 21 bought the lot, before going on to purchase the second mobile number auctioned for the night as well.

The first vehicle plate number auctioned was 11, series 2. The starting price for the lot was Dh1 million, which rose quickly, and was sold for Dh5 million to owners of Paddle 40.

And for the most exclusive vehicle plate number, Lot 6, Registration number 2-2, bidding began at Dh2.5 million. It was sold to the owner of Paddle 2 for a whopping Dh23.3 million, with well-wishers flocking to the buyer to congratulate him.

The bidding was driven by passionate auctioneers, who encouraged attendees to open their hearts and wallets to aid the starving and needy.

Total collection

In total, the auction raised Dh40.27 million, with five vehicle plate numbers being sold for Dh39.25 million, and 10 mobile numbers sold for Dh1.02 million. The biggest sale price for a vehicle plate number on the night was Dh23.3 million, and the highest winning bid for a mobile number was Dh160,000.

Winning bidder

Hong Yang, 30, a real estate agent from China, was the only winning expat bidder of the night. The Dubai resident won the 2-999 vehicle plate number for Dh1.7 million, and told Gulf News it was a special moment for her.

“I first came to the UAE in 2012, and have long bid in online auctions. When I heard of this chance to contribute in person, I had to come. The number ‘9’ is the biggest single digit, and is auspicious in Chinese culture, symbolising wealth, peace, growth, and perpetuity. This is why I bid on the plate number, and was pleasantly surprised to win. I hope that this is a good omen for me, and will likewise assist thousands of hungry people around the world,” Yang said.

The expat and her partner have a number of cars, and isn’t sure which one will bear the exclusive plate number.

“It could be a Range Rover, it could be a Rolls Royce. We haven’t decided yet!” she said gleefully.

Previous collections

The first edition of the Most Noble Numbers auction, held earlier this month in Dubai, collected Dh53 million in support of 1 Billion Meals, including a whopping Dh35 million for the sale of single-digit vehicle plate number AA8, and Dh5 million for the sale of Etisalat mobile number, 0549999999.

Last year, an auction for MBRGI’s ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign had raised Dh38 million for vehicle plate number AA9.