x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Fiji charity drive in UAE raises Dh180k

Donors pledged the money to the Foundation for the Education of Needy Children in Fiji affected by Cyclone Evans

Awad Mustafa

ABU DHABI // The Fijian community in the UAE raised more than Dh180,000 for victims of Cyclone Evans and schoolchildren at a charity event in the capital on Thursday.

The Fijian night hosted more than 100 donors, including the Australian ambassador to the UAE, Pablo Kang, and the New Zealand ambassador, Malcolm Millar.

Donors pledged Dh150,000 to the Foundation for the Education of Needy Children in Fiji.

This included a UAE Exchange donation of Dh10,000, while two other anonymous donors gave Dh10,000 each. Two Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi-Sydney return tickets were auctioned at the event, raising Dh13,000.

At least Dh30,000 was raised for victims of the cyclone on the night through charity table bookings and food.

Fijian ambassador to the UAE, Robin Nair, sent a letter of appeal to residents, highlighting the devastation his country faced in the aftermath of December's cyclone. "This cyclone was one of the worst in living memory to hit Fiji and it caused enormous damage to homes, schools, hospitals, businesses, as well as infrastructure that Fiji's economy could ill afford," Mr Nair said.

"The year of 2012 was one of the most unfortunate years for Fiji."

Mr Nair said the country was also hit by two major floods that caused widespread damage.

He added that, with the advent of climate change, such disasters have become more frequent.

The event was organised by the International Women in Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi Darlings) group. "We are indeed grateful to the donations presented by the friends of Fiji," Mr Nair said.

"Although this contribution is small compared to the total estimated damage of US$100 million [Dh367m], it will certainly change lives and directly help people in need in our Pacific Island state," he added.

amustafa@thenational.ae