Dubai: The UAE is “literally second to none” worldwide in its generosity to international aid programs, the Prince of Wales said on Tuesday, during the first leg of his Dubai tour.
Prince Charles, who is Britain’s heir to the throne, was speaking at the International Humanitarian City, an aid logistics hub on the outskirts of Dubai.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, is currently on the last day of a three-day tour of the UAE.
He called the complex “an enduring and tangible testament” to the “compassion” of its founder, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and its chair, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, wife of Shaikh Mohammad.
Set up in 2007 by Shaikh Mohammad, the aid logistics complex houses nine UN aid agencies and over 50 other aid groups.
In October, on the instructions of Shaikh Mohammad, the IHC sent 90 metric tonnes of aid to Haiti, to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which killed 1,600 people and left 175,000 homeless.
“The United Arab Emirates and the broad spectrum of support that they offer could not be more needed in these complicated times,” Prince Charles told an audience of dignitaries, aid officials and journalists.
“It is of course, merely a part of their long track record in helping those who are affected by natural disaster, not to mention the 65 million who are displaced by conflict.”
The wider UAE’s help towards global humanitarian work is just “one facet of Shaikh Zayed’s remarkable legacy,” Prince Charles added, referring to the UAE’s first president and founding father.
Accompanied by Princess Haya, the royal couple arrived by helicopter at the aid complex.
Alongside their entourage, several dozen dignitaries, officials and reporters, Prince Charles, Camilla and Princess Haya walked around the IHC aid warehouse complex, supply crates, and white UN vehicles.
Prince Charles, together with Princess Haya, toured a container-sized humanitarian response depot, inspected aid crates and solar panel units. He also sampled water from a special device that extracts water from air.
Camilla meanwhile, inspected a tent designed to house refugees, and an armoured Toyota Landcruiser designed to operate conflict and disaster zones.
Then, arriving at a specially set up tent for their visit, the royal couple watched a short video displaying the work of various international aid agencies working from Dubai.
True to his clean-cut sartorial style, well-known back in the UK, Prince Charles wore a gray pin-striped suit, light blue shirt, and highly polished burgundy shoes.
His dapper outfit was accompanied by gold cufflinks and a large gold ring on his little finger.
Princess Haya, a local style icon in her own right, wore a floor-length off-white dress embroidered with floral designs, and flat sandals with gold straps.
Camilla, meanwhile, carried a lacy white parasol to shade her from the scorching heat, and a cream salwar khameez with a white scarf and matching, loose-fitting trousers.
The trip marks the eighth time that Prince Charles has visited the UAE since his first tour in 1989.
It is also second time for both Prince Charles and the Duchess, who last visited the UAE together in February 2007 as part of a 10-day tour of five Gulf countries.
The UAE trip is part of a wider week-long tour of the Middle East – made at the request of the British government – which began on Saturday in Oman.
Later, the royal couple will visit Bahrain as their final stop.