Dubai: Tonnes of relief materials donated for Kerala by individuals and organisations in the UAE will be converted into cash to help rebuild the flood-ravaged Indian state, a top official of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) told Gulf News.
The UAE charity affiliated to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has been at the forefront of the Kerala flood relief campaign in the country.
Over the past two months after floods caused massive destruction in the homeland of an estimated one million expats, donations in cash and kind kept pouring in. The ERC has been leading the collection of relief materials and cash donations.
Several tonnes of relief materials donated by various community groups, private firms, educational institutions and individuals have been lying in the warehouses of the Red Crescent as the Indian government was yet to give the green signal for sending them over to Kerala due to the legal restrictions in accepting foreign aid, Gulf News has learnt.
“We still haven’t got the permission to send the materials from here,” confirmed Fahd Abdul Rahman Bin Sultan, deputy secretary general for international aid affairs at ERC.
'No legal hurdles'
However, Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief minister of Kerala, who recently visited the UAE to seek funds and partnerships from the expat Malayali community to rebuild the state, had stated that there are no legal hurdles in accepting funds from overseas charities and foundations.
Before flying back to Kerala on Sunday, Vijayan also met senior officials of the ERC.
Post the meeting, the ERC has decided to appraise the value of the relief goods and use the equal amount of money for supporting the state with rehabilitation projects.
Each and every donation in kind will be appraised and converted into cash, Bin Sultan said. “Whatever we collected, we will change into cash.”
He said the collected materials will then be channelised to other disaster-hit areas.
The state had already made it clear that what it requires now is not relief supplies, but funds for reconstruction of infrastructure, homes, clinics, schools etc.
“We haven’t decided the kind of projects we will support. Maybe it will be houses, or clinics, whatever is required as per their priorities. We will be sending a delegation to Kerala soon to finalise these details,” Bin Sultan added.