A girl cries at the funeral of her grandfather, who died during the floods, at a church in Paravur, Kerala, on August 21, 2018. Image Credit: REUTERS

Abu Dhabi: Indian community organisations in the UAE have stopped collecting relief goods for Kerala flood victims following an appeal by the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

“We stopped collecting relief materials from Tuesday. Now we advise donors to send money directly to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund [CMDRF],” said Saleem Cholamukath, auditor and media coordinator at the Kerala Social Centre (KSC) in Abu Dhabi.

As Gulf News reported on Tuesday, Navdeep Singh Suri, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, conveyed a message from senior officials in the Kerala government that read: “Please ask our friends and well-wishers to not send relief materials but channelise funds to the chief minister’s fund.”

Storing and distributing relief material is an unnecessary distraction to the Kerala government whereas sending money will help rebuild the local economy apart from providing emergency relief, Suri had told Gulf News.

An Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) official also pointed out that it was more expensive, and logistically more complicated, to send relief goods by air — sometimes the cost of transporting the cargo is higher than the cost of the items being sent.

The KSC leader said they already sent five tonnes of materials including clothes, sanitary materials and blankets on Monday.

The Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), the largest Indian organisation in the UAE, said they had already set Monday 12pm, as the deadline to receive goods.

“Afterwards we discouraged the donors of goods [following the ambassador’s instruction],” said Ibrahim Murichandi, general secretary of Dubai committee of the KMCC. He said the organisation has already sent 40 tonnes of goods including electric and electronic home appliances, new clothes and blankets.

“We are still packing remaining 10 tonnes, which will be sent soon with the assistance of the UAE and Kerala government authorities,” Murichandi said.

The Indian Association Sharjah (IAS) also stopped the campaign on Tuesday, said Abdullah Mallachery, general secretary of the IAS. “However, we don’t refuse if anyone brings any new goods, which he or she cannot use for any other purpose,” he said.

The IAS already sent two containers of goods and the remaining goods would besent soon, in coordination with other organisations. “A Keralite businessman purchased and brought two tonnes of packed foods, including biscuits today. Now we encourage all donors to send cash to the chief minister’s fund,” Mallachery said.