ABU DHABI // Subsidised rice has been distributed directly to Emirati homes in Al Gharbia for the first time this week to help residents cope with rising prices. Since Wednesday, the municipality has been delivering the packages to homes in isolated areas of the region. In the more populated areas, the packages are handed out at easily accessible locations. Emiratis throughout the emirate have been receiving subsidised rice for a year, but residents of the Western Region previously had to travel long distances to the capital to collect their packages, officials at the Western Region Municipality said. "This is a new initiative in the Western Region, but has been going on in Abu Dhabi for around one year," said Rakan al Murar, the director of public relations at the municipality.
It is part of the support from the Abu Dhabi Government for the people as some cannot buy rice for Dh300 (US$82), because of the rising prices." Mr Murar said the price of 40 kilos of rice had risen to Dh300, while the subsidised packages were being distributed in Al Gharbia for Dh150-180. Distribution began on Wednesday in Madinat Zayed, the region's administrative capital, Liwa, Mirfa, Ghayathi, Sila and Delma Island. Mr Murar said the system was running smoothly.
Packages were being delivered to residents' homes in Liwa, Delma Island, Sila and Ghayathi, but distribution was taking place in municipal warehouses in Madinat Zayed and Mirfa, he added. The rice, from Pakistan, will be distributed in Al Gharbia on a monthly basis. The municipality says it has a six-month supply. Around 26,000 Emiratis live in Al Gharbia, which comprises 80 per cent of the land mass of Abu Dhabi emirate but is home to only eight per cent of the population.