Old ‘clunkers’ drive 5,000 kilometres in UN-backed rally against hunger

6 June 2006

They may not have been your top-of-the-line Hummer or your $250,000 Ferrari, but 113 old cars – none of them worth more than $2,570 – sputtered over the finishing line in Amman, Jordan, today after a 10-day drive across 14 countries in a United Nations-backed rally to raise awareness about fighting hunger and poverty around the world.

“We hope the rally will help break the cycle of indifference, as it shows that everyone with care and determination can make a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of people worldwide who are still unable to secure their basic food needs,” UN World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director Jeme Abdelwahab said.

“Nearly one thousand people die every hour because of hunger and related diseases. We hope that events like this rally can refocus public attention on this global challenge.”

The “Drive against Hunger,” which began on 26 May in Oberstaufen, Germany, was organized by the Jordanian National Alliance for Combating Hunger and Enhancing Food Security in cooperation with WFP under the auspices of Princess Basma Bint Talal.

Travelling over 5,000 kilometres through Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Syria and Jordan, the 250 motorists and their friends drove their old cars, stopping at historic sites to call for a stronger focus and support for efforts to end hunger. Only seven of the 120 starters failed to complete the drive.

The only condition to join was that the market value for the car should not exceed 2,000 euros ($2,570). During the rally, participants distributed clothes and shoes to those who needed them and compiled food recipes from each country they toured. They intend to print recipe books and channel the proceeds to assist humanitarian projects in Jordan.

The vehicles will be sold and the proceeds will go to the Alliance’s projects in Jordan.

“You do not have to have expensive cars to have a world rally,” Princess Basma told the drivers in a welcoming speech. “And ending hunger is not so very expensive either. It just takes political will and determination to have the right policies and the right resources to implement them. After all, the world produces enough food for every child, woman and man to lead a healthy life.”


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