UAE gov't offers $100m in financial aid to rebuild Kerala

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan lauds UAE leaders for providing $100m in financial support to help the flood-hit state of Kerala
UAE gov't offers $100m in financial aid to rebuild Kerala
Aerial view of Cochin city in Kerala,India. (Getty Images)
By Sam Bridge
Tue 21 Aug 2018 12:37 PM

The UAE government has offered $100 million in financial assistance to rebuild the flood-hit Indian state of Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Tuesday.

In comments published by local media in India, the minister lauded the benevolence shown by the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

"Malayalis from all corners of the world have offered help. Millions of those Malayalis treat the Gulf countries as their second home," Vijayan was quoted as saying.

"The UAE government is sharing our grief. His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has spoken to Prime Minister (Narendra Modi). The UAE has offered assistance of $100 million."

The government's aid package follows donations by leading UAE-based Indian expats including Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, chairman and managing director of UAE-based VPS Healthcare, who has offered AED26 million ($7 million).

Yusuff Ali MA, owner of the Lulu Hypermarket chain, Dr BR Shetty, CEO and executive vice chairman of NMC Health, and GEMS Education founder and chairman Sunny Varkey have each given AED5 million.

The contributions are part of the emergency relief campaign launched by the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation (KBZF) in line with the directives of the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

On Saturday, Sheikh Khalifa instructed the formation of a national emergency committee to provide relief assistance to people affected by flash floods in Kerala.

According to the President's instructions, the committee will be chaired by the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) and will include representatives from the UAE's humanitarian organisations.

More than one million people have packed relief camps to escape devastating monsoon floods that have killed more than 410 people in India's southwestern state of Kerala, officials said Tuesday.

About 50,000 homes have been destroyed, according to one Kerala legislator, and people are flocking to the camps as the scale of the desolation is revealed by receding waters.

A total of 1,028,000 people were now recorded in about 3,200 relief camps across the state, a state government spokesman told AFP.

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