Dihad conference
The 17th edition of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) began in Dubai on Monday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A community fund established by a Dubai entity raised Dh344million to support the neediest during COVID-19 pandemic, a top official announced at the opening of the 17th edition of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) on Monday.

“The health sector was supported with more than Dh144 million, while more than Dh8 million were directed to support education, and the aid extended to include tickets for repatriation,” said Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh Ahmed Al Shaibani, director general of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai (IACAD) which established the Community Solidarity Fund against COVID-19 last year.

He was speaking at the conference which runs till March 17 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Dr. Al Shaibani said: “The world witnessed a qualitative crisis that had great repercussions on various economic, social, psychological and humanitarian levels globally, and IACAD decided to establish a fund in which all the necessary assistance would be directed to the neediest.

He said 70 per cent of the more than Dh343 million contributions to the fund since its establishment came from the private sector.

He said the UAE has become a humanitarian centre that attracts all nationalities, and today the launch of the 17th session of DIHAD was the largest regional humanitarian and development event that has been extended under the sponsorship of the IACAD in Dubai since 2006.

“Dubai reached this distinguished level, especially in light of difficult circumstances and I found one reason to reach our goals and objectives, which is based on Sheikh Mohammed’s vision and his proactive approach that contributed to strengthening Dubai’s position in confronting crises at a steady pace.”

Dr Al Shaibani thanked all the stakeholders from the government and private entities that the support charitable work and the humanitarian initiatives supervised by IACAD, stressing that this support reflects the importance of concerted societal efforts to advance comprehensive economic and social development, and promote charitable work.