UAE extends help to Kerala flood victims
“We have formed a committee to start immediately. We urge everyone to contribute generously towards this initiative,” Sheikh Al Maktoum, who is also the vice president of UAE said.Updated: Aug 18, 2018 18:55 IST
Several Gulf states with sizeable populations of Malayali expatriate workers have stepped in to help people affected by the floods in Kerala, with the ruler of Dubai even tweeting messages of support in Malayalam.
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered the formation of a national emergency committee to provide aid, that includes members of humanitarian organisations and will be chaired by the Emirates Red Crescent.
The UAE leaders stressed the “importance of mobilising national efforts of all UAE humanitarian actors” for emergency relief operations “in a way that reflects the spirit of the historic friendship that binds the people of the UAE and India”, Khaleej Times reported.
In identical messages on social media, UAE vice-president Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai, and his wife Haya Bint Al Hussein said the people of Kerala “have always been and are still part of our success story in the UAE”.
Sheikh Mohammed, who tweeted in English and Arabic besides Malayalam along with photos of rescue operations in flood-hit areas, noted the widespread devastation in Kerala and said: “Ahead of Eid Al Adha, do not forget to extend a helping hand to our brothers in India.”
He added: “We have formed a committee to start immediately. We urge everyone to contribute generously towards this initiative.”
The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation also launched an emergency relief campaign to assist flood victims.
Several media reports stated the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said Al Said, had directed the country’s air force to transport water, food and other materials from Muscat to Thiruvananthapuram.
Expatriates from Kerala have also been collecting relief materials and mobilising volunteers. Azad Moopen, chairman of Dubai-based Aster DM Healthcare, has mobilised more than 200 volunteers to help the victims.
Leading money exchange firms UAE Exchange and Unimoni have waived service fees on remittances to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund, while students of the Indian School at Al Ghubra in Oman organised a bake sale on August 16 to raise funds for flood victims.
The floods have killed more than 320 people and left 200,000 homeless. UAE is home to some 3 million Indians, almost 50% of them from Kerala, while Oman has an Indian expatriate community of about 800,000, including some 200,000 from the flood-hit state.