A picture of hunger: Mideast artists paint, shoot and sculp starvation
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The artworks, include paintings, photographs and sculpture from 32 contemporary artists from across the region but mainly from Iran.
Ahead of the opening, Elise Bijon WFP, partnerships manager for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, revealed that 2.5 million children take part in its schools feeding programme in the region.
She said: “The WFP is very active in the Middle East region both at emergency and development levels.
“When we talk about ‘emergency’ we talk about short-term food assistance so we are talking about Syria, Yemen, those kinds of hot emergencies where the WFP is providing life-saving food assistance. We are feeding 1.5 million people in Syria but we are also providing food assistance to hundreds of thousands of refugees in neighbouring countries, including Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and now Egypt.
“The schools feeding programme acts as a very effective incentive for poor parents to send their kids to school and keep them there and also allows the children to focus on class rather than on their stomachs.
“The Middle East is not confined to The Gulf alone and Yemen is one of the countries that has the worst child malnutrition rates in the world.” The organisation also provides food aid to Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen and Sudan from the humanitarian hub in Dubai.
From the UAE, the WFP manages the world’s main emergency response hub, with a United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot and procurement services in Dubai and a United Nations Humanitarian Aviation Service unit in Sharjah. The artworks will be auctioned in two months. Bijon said: “The proceeds
will be used to fund the food assistance provided by the WFP to refugees in Iran.”
Iran has about 950,000 Afghans and 50,000 Iraqi refugees, putting a massive burden on the economy. WFP is operating in the refugee settlements, providing food assistance to families and deploying efforts to encourage the education of young girls.
The organisation provides monthly take-home rations to the families of about 3,000 primary and secondary refugee schoolgirls. These family rations are linked to regular school attendance.
Donations can be given at www.Wfp.org.