Dubai: Indian expats from Kerala and Tamil Nadu have sent oxygen relief supplies, including life-saving medical equipment, worth over Dh2.5 million from the UAE to battle COVID-19 in the South Indian states.
UAE-based businessman S. Lakshmanan, managing director of Tecton Group, donated over Dh500,000 worth medical supplies to his home state Tamil Nadu.
Lakshmanan, a UAE Golden Visa holder, said the consignment included 100 oxygen concentrators. “I feel very happy while giving support to people when they are in need because giving will always provide satisfaction and ultimate bliss, especially when it is for your homeland,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malayali community groups and individuals came together in response to the ‘Care for Kerala’ initiative of Norka-Roots, a public sector undertaking for the welfare of expatriate Keralites. Norka had launched the initiative following an appeal from the state’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to the expatriate Malayalis across the world to support Kerala in its battle against the pandemic.
In the UAE, COVID-19 relief works of Malayali community groups were coordinated under Norka directors O.V. Mustafa and Dr Azad Moopen, chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare, who is also a Lead for Aster Volunteers. According to Dr Moopen and Mustafa, the relief supplies sent to Kerala from the UAE include 18 medical ventilators, 85 oxygen concentrators, 376 oxygen cylinders and 5,005 pulse oximeters.
From the GCC, the initiative received relief worth over Rs60million (Dh3million), excluding the support for building two oxygen plants. The support from the UAE expats itself is for over Rs40million (Dh2million), the directors said.
They said the ‘Care for Kerala’ initiative has been wrapped up with two additional shipments of oxygen relief materials flown to Kerala last week. It has been done before the June 30 deadline for the exemption from customs duty announced by the Indian government for oxygen import from abroad.
The collection and shipment of the sponsored relief materials in the UAE have been channelised through Aster Volunteers and International Humanitarian City (IHC) Dubai.
The first consignment was airlifted for free by Emirates Sky Cargo through IHC Dubai on May 25. The second shipment was delivered in collaboration with Emirates Sky Cargo and DHL and Air Arabia delivered the third shipment free of charge
Kerala Medical Services Corporation has been dispatching the medical equipment, including the ventilators procured from India, to different health care facilities in the state.
United for homeland
Dr Moopen said: “As India became engulfed in the second wave of COVID-19 cases and Kerala also faced a severe shortage of medical resources, Keralite expatriate welfare organisations, community groups, businesses, and individuals in the UAE under the execution of Norka Roots, came together to send medical resources to our homeland. I am honoured to be a part of this noble deed. I am assured that this will be of help to those in need in Kerala.”
Various community groups contributed to the initiative. Expat Keralite children studying their mother tongue through the state government’s Malayalam Mission also pitched in with support from their families. Mustafa said: “A heartfelt thank you to all the expatriate organisations, institutions, and individuals for their support.”
The duo also thanked IHC authorities for their support and Rulers of the UAE for their compassionate attitude towards the expatriates.
Though COVID-19 cases have come down in India, different states continue to impose various curbs including weekend lockdowns to protect the community from the pandemic amid fears of a third wave fuelled by the spread of Delta plus variant of the coronavirus.
Siblings join donation drive
Meanwhile, two expat children from Dubai have collected a large sum of money to buy oxygen concentrators for their home country.
Aryan Kundra, 15, studying in Year 11 at Gems Wellington International School and his younger sibling, Naina, 10, studying in Year 6 at Gems Jumeirah Primary School have collected Dh33,000 (Rs6,57,001) for oxygen concentrators. “We teamed up with ‘Fuel a Dream’ in India and they told us we can join an ongoing campaign that the Rotary Club of Mumbai SOBO and District 3141 was doing with them.”
The collection by Aryan and Naina was enough to fund 13 oxygen concentrators. Aryan said he and his sister were overwhelmed with the response from their family and friends. “I am so happy that we were part of something bigger.”
- With inputs from Anjana Kumar, Senior Reporter