Press Release 5/20/22: Yemen Famine Threat

Yemen is suffering from an extreme wheat shortage, putting millions at risk of a deadly famine.


Due to more than 7 years of war, political unrest, and a stagnant economy, Yemen is considered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Of the 31.18 million people who live there, approximately 17.4 million of them are hungry. This does not even touch on those who are suffering from disease, malnutrition, and injuries from violence. The situation, it seems, is only getting worse.

When the war in Ukraine began in late February, Yemen lost a large portion – over 30%-  of its wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia. In a country where more than 80% of the population already suffers from hunger, this was a devastating loss.

However, earlier this week, things went from bad to worse when India – the world’s second largest producer of wheat – banned wheat exports entirely. The UN expressed strong concerns for countries like Yemen that were already experiencing widespread hunger.

“The US envoy said that Ukraine used to be a breadbasket for the developing world, but ever since Russia started blocking crucial ports and destroying civilian infrastructure and grain silos, hunger situations in Africa and the Middle East are getting even more dire.”

Prior to the wheat shortage, 16 million people in Yemen were already ‘marching towards starvation.’ Now even more will join them.

UMR’s Emergency Plan


UMR has a multi-step approach to bringing both immediate relief and creating long-term sustainable solutions to help the people in Yemen.

First and foremost, we plan to deliver emergency food aid to the most vulnerable communities throughout the country, with a focus on the elderly, mothers and children, and persons with disabilities.

On a longer-term scale, we plan to rehabilitate the local markets, construct and maintain water points for people and livestock, and support local farmers through home gardens, drip irrigation units, and other services. Our ultimate goal is to stimulate the economy as well as provide sustainable food sources.

Press Release 5/4/22: Palestine Relief Partnership


Partnership announcement between United Mission for Relief and Development (UMR) and MedGlobal.

Washington, May 2022: United Mission for Relief and Development (UMR) announced that we will be partnering with MedGlobal, a humanitarian organization whose mission is to serve vulnerable people across the world by providing free and sustainable healthcare to refugees, displaced persons, and other marginalized communities in crisis-affected areas. This partnership is focused on facility-based healthcare services to those most in need in the Gaza Strip, with a focus on the elderly. In coordination with the Ministry of Health, UMR and MedGlobal are deploying healthcare professionals to provide medical and surgical support, life-saving medical equipment, and capacity building for local healthcare providers. This partnership aligns with UMR’s mission to address the dire need for healthcare in Gaza. Approximately 1.5 million people in Gaza lack consistent access to healthcare, which leads to deteriorating health benchmarks at all levels. 80% of Gazzans are below the poverty line. Our objectives are to improve the health of the Palestinian people in Gaza and their quality of life. The nature of the assistance required in Gaza can be grouped into three categories:

1) lack of protection and displacement;
2) limited access to essential services; and
3) erosion of resilience and preparedness.

Based on an assessment completed by MedGlobal, the top needs of elderly individuals were medication and lab tests, awareness and education sessions, and home adaptation and assistive devices. As it stands, 55.7% of the elderly patients in Gaza are suffering from three or more diseases. Additionally, one third of older individuals do not have access to healthcare services. This partnership will allow UMR and MedGlobal to reach more individuals and provide them with the healthcare and medical services they need not just to survive, but flourish.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, UMR is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on providing disaster relief and recovery services both domestically in the U.S. and internationally across the globe. MedGlobal is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on providing life-saving care through deploying healthcare volunteers, supporting local partners and medical providers with training, and supplying hospitals and clinics with medical equipment, medications, and more.

Emergency In Lebanon 2020

As of August 04, 2020, over 4,000 were injured in the Beirut warehouse explosion.  A state of emergency has been declared in Lebanon.

Lebanon needs your help and your assistance. 

“Lebanon is at great risk for a food crisis. Both the Human Rights Watch and the World Bank are predicting that over half of Lebanese households may not be able to afford to purchase food by the end of the year. A full collapse of the Lebanese pound has left thousands of Lebanese unemployed, desperate, and hungry. More than 220,000 jobs in the private sector have been lost since mid-October, and the unrest among the people has reached its boiling point.” — Wejdan Jarrah, UMR’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Representative

As it will take time for Lebanon to fully recover from the explosion, the sharp economic collapse, and the overall political unrest throughout the country, this country needs as much extra help as possible. When you give, your donations are supplying doctors with the medical supplies they need to save lives, providing mothers with food to feed their children, and sharing with the elderly pain medication that they can no longer afford– and that’s a start.

Here’s how your contribution to UMR’s emergency campaign will support Lebanon: 

Emergency Medical Intervention:

UMR already shipped its first medical shipment by air to Lebanon. Each health kit will help 10,000 people receive medical aid for 3 months. These emergency health kits include vital items such as:

  • Gauze
  • Pain medication
  • Surgical instruments
  • Gloves
  • Masks
  • Sterilizers
  • Trays and more

Food Intervention:

UMR has been working in Lebanon for years, providing cash assistance, food parcels, fresh meat, and medical assistance to the poorest areas of the country. UMR is conducting food parcel distributions carrying items such as:

  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Pasta
  • Oil
  • Sugar
  • Tomato paste and more

Each package typically feeds a family of 5 for an entire month.

  • The cost of household staples have risen up to nearly 70% —  butter now sells for $8.00 USD, powdered milk costs $40.00 USD, and diapers cost up to $43.00 USD
  • Over 2.2 million people are living in poverty in Lebanon. According to The World Bank, food insecurity numbers reinstate that “poverty levels could reach as high as 50% if the economic situation worsens.”
  • More than 220,000 jobs in the private sector have been lost since mid-October, and the unrest among the people has reached its boiling point.

Beirut Cleanup:

UMR volunteers are organized on the ground in Beirut to help clean up the city and restore its peace. Cleaning up the debris from the streets is vital for the country to begin to heal.

As the country begins to rebuild after the explosion, Lebanon faces countless roadblocks.

An estimated 300,000 people are now homeless, more than half of the population is facing poverty, and hospitals are operating without electricity as doctors fight to save the thousands of people caught in the explosion. As the spread of COVID-19 overwhelms the region, unemployment rises to over 30%, and overcrowded hospitals oversee mortality rates, Lebanon now finds itself in the middle of a humanitarian disaster. 

Rebuilding Beirut:

Our dedicated team has identified and begun construction on apartmentsin Beirut. We are on track to repair 40-50 apartments per week to ensure that families can safely quarantine.

UMR is restoring homes and apartments by rebuilding windows, doors, and more that were shattered in the blast. We are doing this by employing local workers and providing opportunities and jobs to people who need it most.As COVID-19 cases continue to hit historical daily highs in Lebanon, and with winter on the horizon and cold rains threatening to make matters worse, we are ask you to consider making a donation to support our work. 

“It still feels as if it happened yesterday. The exhaustion, the fear every time we hear something loud; the frustration, the worries… it’s still all there, and it will always remain there.

Your donations will allow us to expand and intensify our life-saving efforts for as long as it takes to rebuild this country.”

Click to Read More:

[1] UNHCR – Lebanon Fact Sheet 2020

[2] WFP – Saving Lives/Global Hotspots 2020

[3] UNDP – Spotlight on Youth in Lebanon 2015

[4] The World Bank in Lebanon 

Bangladesh Water Wells

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with more than 1000 people per square kilometer.

Three quarters of the population live in rural areas, where running water and sanitary latrines are often considered luxury items. As Bangladesh experiences one of the fastest urbanization rates in Asia, most of the 7 million people living in urban slums – the population of which is rapidly increasing – have no access to safe water sanitary latrines, proper waste disposal systems and adequate sewer drainage.

Lack of access to water supply infrastructure such as tube wells and piping are a major issue for the rural poor and urban slum dwellers who often resort to using unprotected surface water for drinking and cooking.

Further, according to the World Bank’s Agglomeration Index, an alternative measure of urban concentration, Bangladesh has considerable hidden urbanization4 that is not captured on official definitions and statistics. An undercounted rural-but-urbanizing dense population as such poses significant risk of epidemic outbreaks with poor WASH coverage and community awareness.

UMR’s funded project has delivered 112 deep tube wells, semi-deep tube wells, and shallow tube wells to 4,304 rural and urbanizing beneficiaries, and conducted beneficiary sensitization trainings on water safety, benefits of safe water, personal/environmental hygiene and maintenance of wells.
Below are most common examples of beneficiary feedback, indicative of general living conditions of the recipient population:

1. Traveling long distance for water, and spread of water-borne disease:

[S.J.] (Aged 52) is marginal farmer. His family consist of 6 members: “We collected safe water from far distance. He said, “We could not install tube well due to lack of money. Most of the people of this area have been suffering from water borne diseases for a long time. People of this area are very poor. […] After field survey Muslim Aid installed a new shallow tube-well. Now we are getting safe water for drinking and domestic uses.” 5

2. Use of unprotected unimproved surface water, and spread of water-borne disease:

[A.S.] (aged 38) is a Rickshaw Puller. His family consist of 7 members. He said “We could not install tube well due to lack of money. We used pond water. Most of the people of this area have been suffering from water borne diseases for a long time. We were collecting water from far distance. People of this area are very poor. After field visit Muslim Aid installed a new shallow tube-well. Now we are getting pure water for drinking and domestic uses.” 6

3. Water available only at neighboring village, and spread of water-borne disease:

[M. A. H.] (age-55) is a poor mer. He said, “We had no tube well before this tube well installed. People of this area are very poor. We were collecting drinking water from neighboring village. Most of the people of this area have been suffering from water borne diseases for a long time. We could not install tube well due to shortage of fund. After field survey Muslim Aid installed a new shallow tube-well, so, we are very happy. Now we are getting fresh water for drinking and domestic uses.” 7

UNICEF (2012) Bangladesh SHEWA-B Factsheet.
UNICEF (2012) Bangladesh SHEWA-B Factsheet.
UNICEF (2012) Bangladesh SHEWA-B Factsheet.
World Bank (2015) Bangladesh Country Brief.
Recorded by Muhammad Kotha Wala 7846 – July 2015. Address of the beneficiary: Upazila: Bagharpara, District: Jessore.
Recorded by Hadia Hamuri 7296 – July 2015. Address of the beneficiary: Upazila: Bagharpara, District: Jessore.
Recorded by Abul Azad 9029 – July 2015. Address of the beneficiary: Upazila: Jessore Sadar, District: Jessore.

Giving Tuesday is on December 01, 2020. Mark your calendar!

What is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday is more than just a day of giving – it is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of organizations to transform communities across the world.

Celebrated after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving created to inspire people to #giveback after days of consuming and shopping and spending.

“#GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.”

Established in 2012, the GivingTuesday movement motivates and inspires citizens of the world to:

  1. Give back to their community because they want to, not because they “should”
  2. Collaborate with friends, family, neighbors, and organizations to this day of giving successful
  3. Celebrate generosity, no matter how big or small 

UMR + GivingTuesday

Last year, UMR raised over $40,000 on Giving Tuesday alone – this year, our goal is to double that number.

All donations given for Giving Tuesday will go towards our 2020 winterization campaign. 

UMR will be providing winter kits to families with the immediate need to survive the cold. By supporting UMR’s Winter Campaign on GivingTuesday, you will be providing children and families in the US, as well as Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Bangladesh, and Egypt with:

  • Food Packs
  • Blankets
  • Winter Jackets
  • Fuel Powered Heaters
  • Fuel Vouchers

As a humanitarian organization, our mission is to provide immediate relief for vulnerable communities that suffer from malnutrition, disease, poverty, and more.

In such uncertain times, communities are relying on each other more than ever before. On this global day of giving, let’s come together to support our neighbors near and far.

On this global day of giving, come together to support your neighbors near and far.

A Winter Like Never Before

“We need foodstuffs, we need heating items and we need medical care. We suffer from harsh winters. We don’t have anything, we are powerless,” cry refugees worldwide, UNHCR.

We understand that this winter is going to be difficult for everybody. Between the challenges posed by COVID-19, work, school, family, and the struggle of maintaining a healthy balance, life can be overwhelming. At UMR, we face those challenges as well. But what keeps us going is knowing that our work can significantly impact the lives of people around the world who don’t have access to basic necessities.

When COVID-19 swept the world, no one could have predicted the immense devastation it would cause. Millions of people all across the world are now unemployed, with no hope in sight. Now, as winter approaches, these vulnerable communities are facing an entirely new list of fears: how will I protect myself from the cold? Can I afford to feed my children? Will my family survive this winter?

Life in the Cold 

Thousands are forced “to sleep under trees, to shelter in abandoned or unfinished buildings,” according to the UNHCR. “Families are resorting to burning rubbish to try and keep warm, and shield their children from hypothermia.”

Palestinian and Syrian Refugees — Jordan

Gaza, Palestine 

  • The people in Gaza face harsh winters each year, consisting of subzero temperatures, freezing rain, and snow.
  • With~75% of the entire population living in poverty, this means that millions of people are at risk of not making it through the winter.

“Last year, three children died after they froze inside their homes which lack even primitive warming equipment due to severe lack of gas, fuel and electricity.”


  • In the fall of 2019, Lebanon’s economy collapsed. The cost of everyday essentials skyrocketed and hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs, their homes, and their only source of income.
  • In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the poverty rate shot from 8% to 23%
    • Now, ~850,000 individuals live below the poverty line
      • Meaning they are trying to live on less than $14.00 per day
  • Then, just when the country thought it couldn’t get any worse, there was a massive explosion in Beirut in early August 2020
  • This explosion destroyed more than  300,000 homes
    • Leaving entire families to live on the streets or in broken homes, with absolutely no protection from heavy rain, snow, or freezing temperatures.
    • Now as the winter approaches, these families will have no protection from freezing temperatures, rain, hail, snow, etc.



  • Due to the pandemic that continues to tear through America, approximately 12.6 million people in the U.S. are unemployed.
  • Unfortunately, children are often at the forefront of poverty in the United States
  • Approximately 11.9 million children in the U.S. live in poverty, making them the poorest group in the country
  • The U.S. is known for very harsh winters; below-freezing temperatures, hail, snow, sleet, and more.
    • Without adequate protection from this weather, millions of children across this country are at risk this winter.
    • We mustn’t let another child go to sleep freezing this winter.

Rohingya Refugees, Bangladesh 

  • More than 900,000 Rohingya refugees live in camps south of Cox’s Bazar in Southeast Bangladesh in the world’s largest refugee settlement
    • These camps are barren, with most people living in makeshift huts without consistent access to food, water, medical care, blankets, heaters, etc.
    • ~1/2 of this refugee population are children suffering from malnutrition and other disease, making them extremely vulnerable to the cold weather.


  • Before the pandemic, Egypt was still recovering from extreme economic turmoil
  • Then, COVID-19 caused the economy to crash once again.
    • 32.5% of the Egyptian population lives in extreme poverty – about 1/3 of the entire population
    • Finding work is nearly impossible during these difficult times and families are wondering how they will be able to keep warm, feed their children, and afford to pay rent.

UMR Interventions

As a humanitarian organization, our mission is to provide immediate relief for vulnerable communities that suffer from malnutrition, disease, poverty, and more. Unfortunately, the number of people in need of intervention is higher than it has ever been.

Right now, the world is united like never before as we all experience the painful effects of this global pandemic, and UMR is asking that we come together this winter to help those who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic.

Winter Kits 2020 

By supporting UMR’s Winter Kits initiative to help families survive, you will guarantee families will receive:

  • Food Packs
  • Blankets
  • Winter Jackets
  • Fuel Powered Heaters
  • Fuel Vouchers

Zakat al-Maal

As we go through the holy month of Ramadan, striving to strengthen our Iman and our deeds, we continue to reflect on the blessings of Allah in our life. Ramadan is the perfect time to reflect on those fellow brothers and sisters around the world that are not as fortunate as us and are struggling at this moment in life. Allah has made Zakat obligatory on us for exactly this purpose, and to purify our wealth.

Take this great opportunity! There is no better time to give Zakat Al-Maal than the month of Ramadan.

UMR is currently working on several projects around the world where your Zakat money can help the poor and destitute, those that have been forced to leave their homes.

UMR School

Through donor-led capacity development, UMR is dedicated to identifying and filling the gaps in education aid. Our goal is to increase the technical skills and expertise of our beneficiaries by delivering and administering education, both in the classroom and in the education ministry – a key part of a more systemic approach to improving education.
This low enrollment mainly attributes to the absence of access to education at all levels. In partnership with KELEM Education and Training Association, UMR successfully constructed a school with five classrooms, provided short term training for teachers, delivered scholastic materials to ensure effective teaching-learning processes, and conducted WASH training to teachers, staff and students. This school is the first of its kind in its community and supports more than 200 beneficiaries per year.
In 2016, our major education campaign was creating sustainable access to quality education facilities for drought-affected pastoralist school children in the Afar region of Ethiopia. The Afar region has one of the lowest education net enrollment ratios (NER) at 32%, far below the national average of 85%. More rural and remote Woredas within Afar have an even lower NER of 20% (Ministry of Education (MoE), 2011).

The existing poor access to education combined with the drought facing the pastoralist has severely affected the teaching learning activities. The existing poor access to education, combined with the drought facing the pastoralist, has severely affected the teaching-learning activities. Thousands of students are already out of school as they lack access to education. The majority of students have already dropped out of their school due to the effect of drought. Continued and unresolved lack of access to water has aggravated the problem. School-aged and enrolled female students are forced to miss class and drop out of school to fetch water from a very distant place. Sometimes the distance takes a whole day on foot travel for a round trip, profoundly affecting the participation of girls in education.

UMR Joins Forces with Academia to Strengthen Projects in Gaza and Bangladesh

UMR Joins Forces with Academia to Strengthen Projects in Gaza and Bangladesh

UMR has partnered with the Access to Health (ATH) Project at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law to advance the organization’s healthcare projects in Palestine and Bangladesh. ATH is an interdisciplinary health and human rights initiative composed of graduate and faculty across Northwestern’s law, business, medicine and public health programs. The collaboration will provide ATH students with a new experiential learning opportunity working in the humanitarian sphere. Our goal is to utilize academia and research to better inform UMR’s approach to providing better healthcare access to vulnerable populations across the two regions.

In Palestine, UMR has long worked in areas like Gaza to provide basic necessities such as food, water, medical supplies, medications, medical equipment, winter items, fresh meat, children’s backpacks, and more. This time, UMR is searching for longer-term solutions to some of the challenges brought on by the limited access to resources in the Palestinian Territories. One such project will be an assessment on water access, and how UMR can increase consistent access to clean drinking water for families living in Gaza. A collaboration with the ATH team might include the development of a needs assessment, or a landscape review of the practices of other organizations to circumvent restrictive import policies that affect the delivery of international aid into Gaza.

In Bangladesh, UMR is seeking to tackle healthcare access for Rohingya women and girls, due to the fact that they make up more than half of the population of Cox’s Bazar refugee camp. A large portion of these girls and women are in their reproductive age and are in need sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services including pregnancy and delivery care, family planning services, menstrual health, safe abortion, STDs, etc. In spite of the interventions of many national and international organizations, there is a serious lack of clinical management for sexual and reproductive health care for girls and adolescents in the camps. Moreover, this group of Rohingya refugees are reluctant to seek SRH care since their healthcare seeking behavior is highly influenced by the orthodox and conservative religious and cultural values, and the continuous deprivation of services that this community experienced in their own country in Myanmar. Lack of awareness and limited access to SRH cares results sexual violence, child marriage, unintended and unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, higher rates of maternal mortality, etc. Therefore, these problems need a multidimensional approach. UMR’s partnership with ATH will seek to address these issues to make sure that SRH care is not only accessible but to also provide health education and awareness around these issues within the community.

This partnership will provide Northwestern University students who enroll in the course to research, assess and innovate new approaches to these common issues based on feedback provided by UMR, which will ultimately strengthen UMR’s interventions for years to come.

Becoming Self-Sustainable: The Struggle for Syrian Women & How UMR Intervened​

Becoming Self-Sustainable: The Struggle for Syrian Women & How UMR Intervened By:  Caroline Evashavik

Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, approximately 6.6 million people have fled the country out of fear for their safety – with nearly half of them being women and children. Before the war, most women were supported by men who headed their households. Abruptly forced to begin a new life on their own, without the support of their husbands, community, or family, many women found themselves struggling to build a sustainable lifestyle.

Isolation, overcrowded host-countries, and lack of work experience left Syrian refugee women with nowhere to turn – which is why UMR intervened and created the Jasmine Project. We interviewed the General Manager of the Jasmine Project to help you further understand the detrimental effects of the war on refugee women and how UMR’s commitment to this project has allowed them to reach new levels of success and self-sustainability.

Lara Shahin, a Syrian refugee and now the General Manager of UMR’s Jasmine Project based in Jordan, was experiencing the same problem that most refugee women faced when they left home. She explained, “I came to Jordan in 2012 because of the Syrian crisis. At the beginning I thought, how can I support myself or my family?”

For many women like Lara, life before the war in Syria was simpler: they had lived in the same place their whole lives, and had support from their community, family, and friends. Being the sole provider for their family was never something they thought they would have to learn. In a study done by UNHCR, it was reported that, “many women say the stress of exile has been exacerbated by assuming new burdens of responsibility. Many previously relied on men to provide for the family, handle business outside the house, and make family decisions.” These women quickly learned that they would have to take on new responsibilities and in many cases were expected to become the sole breadwinner and caretaker for their entire family – a nearly impossible task.

The average number of people living in Syrian female-headed households is about five, and attempting to find work that brings in enough money to support the entire household is particularly challenging in host countries like Jordan and Lebanon– where nationals struggled to find work prior to the influx of refugees. There is immense pressure on host countries’ resources and infrastructure; simply put, there aren’t enough jobs to support their entire population along with hundreds of thousands of refugees.

When Lara left Syria, she went to Jordan – along with over 650,000 others. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, “Over 80 per cent of Syrian refugees in Jordan live in urban centers where they face the challenge of finding sustainable work and affordable housing. Competition for limited employment opportunities can lead to tensions with the local population.” So when UMR approached Lara with the idea for Jasmine Project, it could not have come at a better time.

UMR’s Jasmine Project is a way to empower women economically through skills development and entrepreneurship training. “When I started with Jasmine I saw that I could help not just myself, but other refugees in Amman [Jordan].” The goal is to provide women with a permanent solution to the problems they face as refugees, mothers, sisters, wives, and more.

Lara explained that when the project began in 2014, “we organized training courses to support the ladies and [teach] them how to make… products to start selling at the local markets. We made beautiful, handmade products and we started to reach more ladies in Amman.” As more women learned how to use and market their skills – such as sewing and creating hygiene products – the project grew rapidly over the years. More and more women joined UMR’s Jasmine team, leading to a huge increase in the number of products sold.

In 2020, UMR saw the chance to expand the project into something even bigger. In response to the pandemic the Jasmine Project, “started making new products such as masks, hand sanitizer, soaps and more to start selling at the local market and internationally. We created the Jasmine website – which is our chance to start selling our products for the whole world.”

Now, the Jasmine women no longer have to worry about how they will find work, feed their families, or live comfortably. The income they make from their work producing products for Jasmine has allowed them to economically support their families and become the main breadwinners. Moreover, the Jasmine Project has given these women a sense of community again: it has created opportunities and transferable skills that refugee women can use to support their families, no matter how their circumstances change.

For decades, women have been fighting for equality at home, the workforce, in politics, and in every aspect of society all over the world. Massive strides towards gender equality are made every day, but unfortunately there is still much work to be done. When one woman experiences a victory, it is a victory for all. This is why UMR’s Jasmine Project is necessary; it is creating an opportunity for women to be successful, earn their own living, and not be dependent on anyone for their survival. On International Women’s Day, and every day, we want to celebrate all of the women who have joined the Jasmine Project, and are devoted to making the world a safer, stronger, and more equal place for women.

To learn more about UMR’s Jasmine Project and how you can support it, please visit

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