Parishioners at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai, packing relief material to be sent to flood victims in Kerala. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: St Mary’s Catholic Church parishioners have started sending aid to flood victims in Kerala after torrential rains inundated huge parts of the south Indian state.

The relief operation is spearheaded by the parish under the guidance of its parish priest, Fr Lennie J. A. Connully.

“Our relief efforts are in response to the declaration of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, that all should help Kerala. We are not collecting cash, but in-kind donations that will meet the most immediate needs of displaced families at evacuation camps,” Fr Connully told Gulf News.

Parishioners were quick to respond. In two days, parishioners from all communities collected 20 tonnes of food stuff and relief items, a Parish Council representative told Gulf News.

“The church is sending food stuff such as rice, sugar, and other food items, new clothes, new shoes, toiletries and sanitary wares. We have already sent the first batch totalling 7.5 tonnes via air cargo. We have collected another 15 tonnes that we will send next.”

Around 70 volunteers have trooped to the church over the last two days to help pack the goods. Many took advantage of the Eid Al Adha holiday to give their time and effort, apart from contributing relief material.

“All parishioners are contributing. Volunteers work from morning till evening to finish packing the relief goods. We have partnered with non-government and government organisations in Kerala to facilitate the distribution,” the representative said.