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Wed 15 Nov 2017 01:47 PM

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Dubai ruler orders ninth aid airlift for Rohingya refugees

Supplies are dispatched from Dubai's International Humanitarian City, the world's largest aid depot

Dubai ruler orders ninth aid airlift for Rohingya refugees

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has ordered the ninth airlift of relief supplies aimed at helping Rohingya families fleeing violent persecution in Myanmar.

The aid was dispatched on Tuesday 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.

Sheikh Mohammed has extended an ‘air bridge’, which began on September 12 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. Further aid will be delivered in the coming weeks.

Sheikh Mohammed has also sanctioned the use of his private Boeing 747 for the aid effort with additional C130s and Boeing 757s as needed.

The UAE government pledged $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).

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.

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 AED15.23 billion worth of development assistance in 2016 alone.

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