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Volunteers come together at Concourse 1 Trade Centre Arena to pack relief supplies for the quake-hit. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: UAE volunteers came together in Dubai on Monday to pack 15,000 relief boxes for those affected by the deadly earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

Residents were invited to help assemble food parcels for communities affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

The latest community effort comes as part of the ongoing ‘Bridges of Giving’ relief campaign in the UAE for quake victims organised . by Emirates Red Crescent, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and UAE Aid.

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The volunteers who pitched in came from different backgrounds and walks of life. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

A sprawling area at Concourse 1 Trade Centre Arena was booked for relief packages to be set up. Over 2,000 volunteers lined up as early as 7am at the Dubai Trade Centre Exhibition to register themselves ahead of the relief effort.

The day-long effort from UAE was set up under “Bridges of Giving”, a community volunteering initiative. The volunteers – both Emiratis and expats – from different walks of life and ages came together to lend their support.

Bridges of Giving

The UAE launched “Bridges of Giving”, a nationwide community volunteering initiative, to bring the UAE together for quake-affected families. The initiative involves assembling relief kits for UAE humanitarian organisations including Dubai Cares, Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) Authority among others. The Bridges of Giving has been set up in coordination with the UAE Ministry of Community Development (MOCD) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC).

Most of initiatives of MBRGI (launched in 2015) have been launched and supported by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Sara Al Nuami , Director of MBRGI. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Sara Al Nuami , Director of MBRGI, said: “Today, we are partnering with Emirates Red Crescent to make sure we send relief to Turkey and Syria.”

“The goal is pack 15,000 boxes of relief supplies today which include medicines, warm clothing, food items.”

Abdul Kareem Al Olama, CEO of MBRGI, said: “The UAE is always lending its support to other countries in need of help. This is why we are here today lending our support as well. One of the goals of MBRGI is to address pressing humanitarian, developmental and social challenges facing communities across the world and implement diverse sustainable projects, especially in less fortunate communities in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Today’s event is in line with that.”

Volunteers at work

Syrian expat Jude Absi said it was a very emotional day for her. “My heart is split between the UAE and Syria. My father and cousins are back home in Syria. My father lost quite a bit in the deadly quake. So today being a volunteer at the relief efforts was very important to me. The volunteers are not just packing food boxes or clothing items, they are also packing their love and prayers for all those affected in Turkey and Syria.”

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A strong sense of community was on display as the volunteers went about their effort. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, on Sunday rallied for the cause on his Twitter account ahead of the community effort, saying: “Since the era of Zayed, the UAE has been a beacon of compassion, spreading its message of kindness and generosity worldwide.”

Emirati Manal Al Jaouhari, a Dubai Police employee, said, “The UAE leadership has always lent its support for a good cause and today is about that.”