Dubai: Inspired by the UAE government’s show of solidarity with Kerala during the current floods the state is experiencing, many expatriate organisations have initiated their own campaigns to come to the aid of those caught in what is being termed as the worst flooding disaster in the state.
Aid from UAE expatriates has been overwhelming, as people are coming out to donate large quantities of perishables, non-perishables and other items for Kerala flood victims.
The UAE-based organisation Kerala Muslim Cultural Committee (KMCC) is sending aid worth Dh5 million to the state immediately. It has already flown 20 tonnes of assorted items and are planning to airlift an additional 20 tonnes by August 20.
Anwar Naha, KMCC president, Dubai told Gulf News: “We are told that over 500,000 people are staying in over 3,000 relief camps all over the state and we are trying to send aid in two phases.”
The first phase, which is ongoing, had the first consignment of 20,000kg flown to Calicut airport, containing all non-perishable items that people will need once they return home, said Naha. “These include blankets, clothes, bedsheets, water bottles, notebooks, school bags, emergency lights, personal hygiene products, detergents etc. A second consignment of similar items will leave on August 20 and be flown to Bengaluru airport, then airlifted to affected areas,” he said
Nearly 70 per cent of the total land of Kerala is submerged under water and 14 districts are badly affected, with over 236 landslides reported. The worst affected are Wayanad, Malappuram and Alleppey districts.
Naha also said that according to the weather forecast, the incessant rain was expected to halt and the water to begin receding.
“That is when people will need our second phase of aid to help them back to normalcy.”
The second phase of KMCC aid will comprise complete rehabilitation programmes, including a financial aid package to repair and rebuild homes and re-establish businesses, said Naha.
The Kerala NRI cell in the UAE is also shipping huge consignments of non-perishable items to Kerala.
Chandra Prakash, director of an NGO called Indian Assist and part of the NRI Cell, told Gulf News: “Many shipping companies have offered to send aid free of cost. We have booked a 40-foot and 20-foot container with a shipping forwarding company that will transport all aid to Kochi port. We are focusing on sending food items such as rice, sugar, lentils, food grains and cooking oil, as well as blankets, clothing and other stuff.”
Prakash also added that the aid would include high calorific content biscuits, mainly protein biscuits, to provide immediate nutrition to the flood ravaged population.
UAE expatriates could freely donate to these consignments and collection points have been set up at BurJuman Centre, near the reception, in Jebel Ali and at Dubai Humanitarian City to drop off aid for these consignments.
The Canadian Specialist Hospital in Dubai has also initiated a drive to reach out to Kerala flood victims. The hospital is sending clothes for men, women and children, medicines, disinfectants, paper plates, cups, blankets, mats, first-aid kits, instant noodles, dry food items, baby food items, biscuits and milk powder, among other items.
Expatriates can contribute to the collection drive which began on Saturday, August 18, and continue until August 24.
Ganesh Kumar, a volunteer for a social welfare organisation based in Abu Dhabi, sent one tonne of clothing, dry food items, medicines and emergency supplies to Kochi. He told Gulf News: “My home in Abu Dhabi was turned into a collection centre last week, with people coming in to donate in huge numbers. We just couriered the stuff on Saturday and our volunteers in Kerala will go by boat to distribute it to the really needy people, when the items reach the state in a couple of days.”
Collection points and phone numbers in the UAE
■ Kerala Muslim Cultural Committee (KMCC) office: Call 04-2727773 to connect with volunteers at their offices in Al Baraha behind Dubai Hospital
■ Kerala NRI Cell and Indian Assist: Contact Chandra Prakash for Kerala NRI Cell on 0555653719 or on email : firstname.lastname@example.org
■ Indian Association Sharjah — 06-5610845
■ The Indian Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) — 02-6730066
■ Indian Ladies Association (ILA) — 02-6330182
■ The Kerala Social Centre — 02-6314455
■ The Abu Dhabi Malayalee Samajam, Musaffah — 02-5537600
■ The Indian Islamic Centre in Abu Dhabi — 02-6424488
■ Indian Social Club — 09-2221155
Most needed items
■ Bedsheets, sleeping mats, blankets, nighties, lungi, bathing towels, rusk (no bread), biscuits (no cream biscuits), water, rice, sugar, salt, milk powder, pulses, oil, spices, tea/coffee powder, electrolytes, water purifying chlorine, tablets, Dettol, first aid kits, mosquito repellents, anti-septic lotion, antifungal powder, bleaching powder/lime powder, baby diapers, adult diapers, sanitary napkins, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bathing soap, washing soap, candles, matchboxes, cooking utensils and dining utensils like plates, tumblers etc, basic household furniture (chairs, tables etc), containers for storing rice and other food items at home, footwear, mugs and buckets.
How to donate cash to the Chief Minister's Fund
■ Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has requested the Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) to extend their support to the state to deal with the worst natural calamity it has ever faced.
■ People can send their donations to CMDRF (Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund), Account number: 67319948232, State Bank of India, City Branch, Thiruvananthapuram, IFS Code: SBIN0070028.