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Dubai: Amid Surging Prices, Poor Get Free Bread From Vending Machines

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Rising prices inflamed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has impacted one of the wealthiest emirates, Dubai. The increase in cost of living has led to the distribution of free hot bread for the poor.

For the purpose, ten vending machines were installed in the previous week in supermarkets. The vending machines work with a computer touch screen that allows people to select different type of breads: loaves for sandwiches, pitta bread or flat Indian-style chapatis. These machines do not take payment, instead they have a credit card reader for those who wish to donate. Therefore, poor people get their breads for free from the machines.

The Dubai Statistics Centre released figures that suggested the food price index, which tracks the monthly change in the cost of a basket of food commodities, rose by 8.75 percent in July, year on year. The cost of transport has jumped by more than 38 percent. The humanitarian initiative was taken up by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

The foundation’s director Zeinab Joumaa al-Tamimi said, “The idea is to go to disadvantaged families and workers before they come to us.” The bread machines have proved beneficial for those who could not afford high priced food.

The oil-rich UAE has a population of nearly 10 million people, 90 percent of them foreigners, many labourers from Asia and Africa.

The government doubled social assistance in July, but only for the small number of Emirati families with monthly wages under 25,000 dirhams ($6,800), which are deemed to be disadvantaged households. Foreigners are not included in this humanitarian initiative.

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