A Vietnamese entrepreneur has come up with an ingenious idea to help hungry people in Vietnam. Businessman Hoang Tuan Anh designed an ATM that dispenses rice instead of cash. He arranged for the ATMs to be installed on streets in cities across Vietnam. Mr Anh said he was troubled by the number of people going hungry after losing their jobs in the coronavirus. An estimated five million people lost their livelihoods as a result of the pandemic. The "free-rice ATMs" have become so popular that Anh is arranging for more to be manufactured and installed. He told reporters that other businesses, sponsors and donors have offered to help fund his project, allowing him to extend the reach of the ATMs.
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Mr Anh explained what was behind his initiative. He told the BBC: "I wanted to invent a 24/7 automatic dispensing machine providing free rice for people out of work following an ongoing nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus." Mr Anh estimated that his machines have dispensed around 3,000 tons of free rice to those in need. People are permitted to "withdraw" 1.5kg of rice twice a day. Many people are appreciative of Mr Anh's efforts. A mother who recently lost her job told the Reuters news agency: "I read about this rice ATM on the Internet. I came to check it out, and couldn't believe it came out of the ATM. I really hope the sponsors keep doing this."