Vietnam’s working-class poor are being fed by a 24/7 automatic dispensing machine providing free rice following a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, reported Vietnam+.
Hoang Tuan Anh, the Vietnamese entrepreneur behind the idea, designed the “rice ATM” to help “underprivileged people that have been impacted” by the shutdowns.
As of Tuesday, there are 265 cases of the virus in the country with zero deaths. The spread has been slowed through strict social distancing measures enforced by the Communist government.
The first ATM was installed in Ho Chi Minh City, a city in southern Vietnam. It dispenses a 3.3lb bag of rice to workers, many of whom have lost their jobs, as the government has shut down all non-essential businesses to slow the spread of the virus.
Vietnam+ said the rice ATM would operate until the end of June. Similar ATMs have been set up in other large metro areas across the country.
“This rice ATM has been helpful. With this one bag of rice, we can have enough for one day,” a 34-year-old mother of three children told Reuters. “Now, we only need other food. Our neighbors sometimes gave us some leftover food, or we have instant noodles.”
Reuters documents how the rice ATM works in several images: