Kerala chief minister thanks UAE for flood relief - GulfToday

Kerala chief minister thanks UAE for flood relief

Red-Crescent

Emirates Red Crescent deputy secretary general for international development cooperation exchanging documents with Kerala officials after signing a MoU in Trivandrum on Friday.

Ashraf Padanna, Correspondent

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has expressed his gratitude to the rulers of the UAE for their support and solidarity during last year’s devastating floods.

“I had fruitful and pleasant meetings with the rulers during my recent visits to the UAE. They had told me that Kerala has a place in their hearts, and offered to extend all assistance,” Vijayan told reporters here.

“Now the Emirates Red Crescent has offered to help build residential complexes and other facilities for those who have been left homeless by the deluge.”

On Thursday, he had talks with Fahad bin Abdul Rahman bin Sultan, the ERC deputy secretary-general for international development cooperation, on the aid programme.

Sultan also signed a memorandum of understanding with the state officials here. The ERC has set a budget of Dh10 million to build new houses and a child and maternity centre.

“I had a meeting with the ERC officials during my visit to the UAE during which they assured me to be part of our efforts to help the flood victims,” Vijayan said. They have agreed to donate Rs 200 million in the first phase and promised continued aid for rebuilding the state.”

UAE consul general for southern India, Jamal Hussain Al Zaabi, and Abu Dhabi Chamber director Yusuffali MA and top Kerala officials were also present during the signing of the MoU.

Wam reports the officials had updated Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, and Chairman of the ERC on the progress in reconstruction projects the UAE launched following the Kerala floods.

Fahad bin Abdul Rahman bin Sultan, the head of the ERC team, briefed Sheikh Hamdan about the ongoing reconstruction efforts and the coordination being made with the UAE Consulate here.

“The UAE will spare no effort in delivering humanitarian assistance and services to countries struck by natural crises and disasters to alleviate the suffering of affected people,” Sheikh Hamdan said.

Meanwhile, the state government is holding a development partners’ conclave as part of the Rebuild Kerala Initiative here on Monday to discuss modalities of reconstruction in a time-bound manner. As a precursor, a team of experts and representatives of agencies led by the World Bank country director had last week held discussions with top officials focussing on the development proposals.

The participants include Asian Development Bank, KFW Bankengruppe, Germany, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Department of International Development, French Development Agency AFD, United Nations Development Programme and German Development Aid.

The state has pegged the total reconstruction cost at Rs 310 bn, and that should be mobilised from various sources.

The floods had affected 5.5 million people, displacing 1.4 million of them and killing 483, since the onset of monsoon on May 29 last year.

The Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund has so far received Rs 42.89 billion in donations and spent Rs 19.17 billion. Several non-government agencies are also building homes and extending support to those left homeless.

Emirates Red Crescent deputy secretary-general for international development cooperation, Fahad bin Abdul Rahman bin Sultan, exchanging documents with Kerala officials after signing a memorandum of understanding in Trivandrum, the southern state’s capital, on Friday.  Also seen are chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, UAE consul general Jamal Hussain Al Zaabi, Abu Dhabi Chamber director Yusuffali MA and top Kerala officials.

The state of Kerala in India witnessed last year huge floods, the most devastating in a century, as a result of which hundreds were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced.

Soon after, the entire UAE including its leadership, humanitarian organisations, government bodies, residents, and businesses came forward to help the people of Kerala.

The Emirates Red Crescent carried a nationwide fund-raising campaign to help the flood victims and led UAE efforts to provide relief for people affected by devastating floods in Indian state of Kerala.