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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Indian businessmen pledge millions of dirhams to UAE's relief campaign for flood-stricken Kerala

Sunny Varkey of Gems Education is the latest to pledge funds to the emergency response appeal

A navy helicopter rescue crew winches a stranded man into their aircraft in Paravoor near Kochi on August 18, 2018. AFP
A navy helicopter rescue crew winches a stranded man into their aircraft in Paravoor near Kochi on August 18, 2018. AFP

Indian business leaders have donated millions of dirhams to the UAE's relief campaign to help the victims of flooding in the southern state of Kerala.

Yusuff Ali M A, owner of the Lulu Hypermarket chain and B R Shetty, founder of NMC Healthcare, each gave Dh5million to the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, which is organising the drive, on Saturday night.

On Sunday, Sunny Varkey, the founder of school operator Gems Education, pledged Dh5 million to help the people of his home state.

UAE residents with friends and family in Kerala have spoken of unprecedented devastation to their homes and communities.

The floods are the worst Kerala has experienced for 100 years. More than 320 people have died as a result.

"We are making our humble contribution to the committee for supporting the rescue and rehabilitation work in Kerala, my home-state," he said.

“Kerala is witnessing an unprecedented challenge and it calls for the unified efforts of all to support the state and its people. My heart goes out to the people affected by the floods and I hope they will find the strength and resolve to overcome the crisis.

“I also congratulate the entire community for standing together to face and address the situation efficiently. We need concerted efforts to rebuild the state, and I commend the efforts of everyone for their unconditional support, dedication and tireless work. This is a challenging time, no doubt, but standing united, we can overcome it."

Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, said the response from communities in the UAE signifies "the country's commitment to the values of friendship, loyalty and goodness".

On Saturday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, wrote on Twitter: “UAE and the Indian community will unite to offer relief to those affected. We urge everyone to contribute generously towards this initiative.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded by thanking Sheikh Mohammed on Twitter, writing, “A big thanks to @hhshkmohd for his gracious offer to support people of Kerala during this difficult time.

“His concern reflects the special ties between governments and people of India and UAE.”

The foreign exchange houses UAE Exchange and Unimoni have waived fees on remittances to cut costs for UAE residents sending money to friends and family in Kerala.

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Read more:

'Everything is lost:' Indian expatriates in UAE speak of flood devastation

Kerala floods crisis 'extremely grave' - in pictures

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