A woman rescued by the navy personnel rests with her grandchildren at the Naval relief camp in Kochi, in Kerala. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) has announced the launch of a nationwide fund-raising campaign on Monday, coinciding with the Arafat Day, to help people affected by the flash floods in the Indian state of Kerala.

Leading UAE efforts to provide relief for people affected by the devastating floods, ERC will deploy its representatives in hundreds of locations across the country to collect funds.

The charity authority urged all community segments to interact with the humanitarian initiative that reflects the UAE’s approach to giving laid by its leaders and deeply rooted in the Emirati society.

Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, secretary general of ERC, said the selection of the Arafat Day as a major day for receiving donations will encourage people to respond to this humanitarian initiative for the flood-hit Indian state of Kerala.

Emergency committee

The fund-raising campaign comes two days after President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan formed an emergency committee to organise relief assistance to the Indian state of Kerala following devastation caused by flash floods.

The committee, chaired by the ERC, includes representatives from local humanitarian organisations in the country and seek the help of Indian expatriates in the UAE.

Dr. Al Falahi thanked UAE leaders for assigning the ERC to chair the committee dedicated to organising relief assistance and emergency aid to the affected people.

Leading UAE efforts 

ERC is leading UAE efforts to provide relief for people affected by devastating floods in southern India’s Kerala state, a senior official of Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) said on Sunday.

Fahad Abdul Rahman Bin Sultan, deputy secretary-general for international aid affairs at ERC, told Gulf News ERC employees and volunteers are already on the ground in Kerala, aiding relief efforts there.

More than 350 people have been killed and some 800,000 have been displaced in the worst flooding in a century in Kerala. Heavier than usual monsoon rains have submerged most parts of the state, which has issued alerts for many districts.

The UAE community — the leadership, humanitarian organisations, government entities, residents, and businesses — has stepped forward to support the people of Kerala.

If you are in the UAE, there are easy ways to donate for Kerala relief: (see the table below right)

On Sunday, Bin Sultan said: “As you know, the order to support the people of Kerala has come from President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to all humanitarian organisations. The leader will be ERC for international aid from the UAE.”

He added: “We’re coordinating with all the humanitarian organisations, Indian societies and associations, and businesses to collect stocks and money — and to share information on the same ­— to support Kerala.”

Bin Sultan said it was more important to send money to Kerala, so food and other supplies could be bought from markets close to the flood-affected areas. He pointed out that it was more expensive, and logistically more complicated, to send in-kind relief by air — sometimes the cost of cargo is higher than the cost of the items being sent.

“We [ERC] are working on the ground in Kerala. Our employees and volunteers are coordinating with the UAE consulate in Kerala and the government of Kerala. We have given directives to the consulate to buy food from the area there. We have collected items and we also have items already in stock.”

The relief will be flow from the UAE to Kerala in a few days, Bin Sultan added, after the go-ahead from the UAE and Kerala, considering the weather and on-ground situation in Kerala. Also, an ERC delegation will be going to Kerala soon, he said.

When asked about the total amount of funds and items for the Kerala relief effort, Bin Sultan said that the collection of funds and items is still an ongoing process.

He added that the response from the UAE community has been strong, citing Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation (KBZF), which alone received Dh10 million, as an example.

On Sunday, KBZF said the contributions started pouring in only hours after it launched an emergency relief campaign to assist the Kerala flood victims in line with the directives of the UAE leadership.

ERC, established in 1983, is the leading humanitarian organisation of the UAE.

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 : chandridxb@gmail.com


■ Indian Association Sharjah — 06-5610845

Abu Dhabi 

■ 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


Major donors

■ Yousuf Ali, chairman and MD of LuLu Group, donated a total of Dh9.23 million. 
■ Dr B.R. Shetty, chairman of NMC Healthcare, Unimoni & UAE Exchange, donated Dh6.06 million. 
■ Sunny Varkey, GEMS Education founder and chairman has committed Dh5 million to the special committee formed by the UAE. 
■ Dr K.P. Hussain, chairman, Fathima Healthcare Group, has announced Rs50 million (Dh2.65 million) for aid. 
■ Dr Azad Moopen, founder chairman and MD of Aster DM Healthcare has announced Rs5 million (Dh265,000) for the chief minister’s fund.