Dubai: Most Keralites in the UAE have spent the past few days forwarding WhatsApp messages containing emergency numbers and video updates from the flood-stricken Indian state. Many others have been trying to ensure their friends and family members in Kerala are out of danger.
Indian expatriates make up nearly 27 per cent of the UAE population. Of these, a sizeable number are from the South Indian state of Kerala. Dubai expats are using social media with hashtags such as #KeralaRelief and #KeralaFloods to reach out and join other Keralites from across the globe in sending financial and humanitarian aid.
@PishuMon: “A group of friends are collecting items from people who don’t have transport to be sent directly to Kerala through cargo. #Dubai #Sharjah #KeralaFloods #KeralaFloodRelief.”
Twitter user @ilungaize posted: “We can’t solve all the problems of this calamity, but we can make sure #Kerala does not face them alone. If you’re anywhere in #Dubai and wish to contribute I will personally arrange for pick up. Please help. Every bit matters. #KeralaFloodRelief #KeralaFloods”
Twitter user @iamjkv added: “Small contributions of relief materials from my place of work in Dubai. It will join with the large cargo of relief materials which is supposed to reach Thiruvananthapuram by tomorrow.
Please, I request whoever reading this to contribute. #KeralaFloods #KeralaFloodRelief #StandWithKerala”
UAE leaders have instructed for a national emergency committee to be formed, to provide assistance to those affected by the Kerala floods.
Like many other Indians, @Neeraj_SKumar also posted a message of gratitude for UAE leaders. He tweeted: “UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has instructed the formation of a national emergency committee to provide assistance to the people affected in Kerala floods. Orders formation of emergency committee to provide aid to #Kerala. UAE is full of Malayalis ... This response of [the UAE] government is admirable.”
Keralites were not the only ones to help. Popular Emirati vlogger Khalid Al Ameri uploaded a video on his social media channels, requesting support for victims of the flood.
On Facebook, he wrote: “Heavy monsoons in Kerala, India, have led to some of the worst floods it has ever seen ... tens of thousands are either displaced or homeless, they need our help now.
To people in the UAE: You can donate directly through exchanges ... Stay strong Kerala, we are here for you and we are helping, hold on.” The video was shared close to 80,000 times.
Another Dubai expat, Monserrat Martin, has collected items like clothes, milk powder and mattresses to send to camps in Kerala. She told Gulf News: “Me and my friends started collecting some relief items. Word of mouth spread and many people from the UAE have joined us; we will send the things to the camps that have been set up in Kerala. We are trying to collect 1,000 mattresses.”
Exchange houses in the UAE are sending money to the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund in Kerala, free of service charge. Many cargo companies are also providing free services to transport relief goods.
@theabrahammer93 tweeted: “A lot of cargo companies bearing the expenses of delivering goods to the victims in Kerala. Amazing to see Indians from all over the globe lend a helping hand to Kerala in this time of need.” Another tweep from the UAE, @Tiim27, also posted a picture of relief goods packed and ready to be sent to Kerala. He posted: “In this difficult period, my prayers for all flood-affected people of Kerala. We know Kerala is [the] most beautiful state of India and people of Kerala are a part of UAE’s success. Let us extend our hands in support in their difficulties.”