WASHINGTON: Following the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma, which brought widespread devastation to the Florida Keys and communities all across the state, the UAE Embassy in Washington has announced that the UAE government has pledged $10 million to help with recovery efforts.

The UAE’s Ambassador to the United States, Yousuf Al Otaiba, spoke with Florida Governor Rick Scott about the donation, which will help recovery and rebuilding efforts in some of the most hard-hit parts of the state.

Officials of the UAE Embassy will coordinate with leaders of the Florida Disaster Fund about specific programmes that will be supported by the donation. They will also discuss additional projects involving volunteers or other assistance. Through this coordinated effort, the UAE’s fund will have the greatest impact in communities with the most needs.

“The people of the UAE stand with the people of Florida who have been impacted by Hurricane Irma,” said Al Otaiba. “We are inspired by the spirit and determination of all Floridians during this difficult time, and are confident that the areas most impacted by Irma will recover stronger than ever.”

Ambassador Al Otaiba continued, “The UAE has long shared a strong partnership with Florida, and we are proud to help the state on its road to recovery.”

Governor Scott said, “This donation will benefit families who are working to recover from Hurricane Irma. We appreciate this support to the Florida Disaster Fund.”

According to Al Otaiba, the UAE and Florida share a growing relationship, largely driven by trade and economic investment. Florida is one of the largest exporting states to the UAE, valued at over $1.5 billion in 2016, and investments by UAE companies are helping stimulate the local economy.

The UAE has an extensive record in helping US communities in need after natural disasters. Most recently, it pledged $10 million to the state of Texas for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The UAE’s gifts and volunteer projects also helped US communities recover after Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Hurricane Sandy (2012), and helped Joplin, Missouri, rebuild in 2011 after one of the largest tornadoes ever recorded in the US devastated the community. Additionally, the UAE recently announced a $10-million donation to nations and territories in the Caribbean that were significantly impacted by Hurricane Irma.