x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Thousands more Emiratis in need get financial help from the state

More than Dh800million in financial aid was given to needy Emiratis last year. Older citizens, widows, divorcees, disabled people and orphans were among those who benefitted.

ABU DHABI // Thousands more Emiratis benefited from financial support last year, with assistance to the needy increasing by Dh141 million.

The number of recipients of social welfare in Abu Dhabi increased from 25,373 in 2011 to 38,949 last year, with the total value of aid up from Dh665m to Dh806m – a leap of 21 per cent.

The figures were released by the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi (Scad).

“The social welfare services provided in the emirate contributed significantly in supporting individuals of the society,” said Butti Al Qubaisi, the director general of Scad.

The social welfare system set up to give financial assistance to Emiratis is operated by the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Financial assistance was given to 20,347 women and 18,602 men last year.

Of the 39,949 total beneficiaries, the elderly made up the majority of those needing financial help, with more than a quarter of all social welfare distributed being given to 10,143 senior citizens.

This was followed by those with a handicap (7,152) and people with a disability (5,682).

Orphans needing financial aid last year almost doubled from 924 in 2011 to 1,683.

Others needing social welfare included widows, divorcees, prisoners’ families and married students.

Since 2007, the Ministry of Social Affairs has shifted its focus from simply caring for those dependent on financial assistance to developing the capacity of individuals.

Mona Al Bahar, an FNC member in Dubai, said this helped to ensure that all members of the community could depend on themselves and contribute to society.

A number of charities are also operating in Abu Dhabi to support needy groups, with the biggest contributor being the Emirates Red Crescent.

Since its formation in 1983, it has handed out Dh2 billion in aid across the country.

Its budget for next year will be double that of this year to help reach even more people in need.

“This will help immensely in lowering their burdens,” said Mohammed Abdullah Al Zaroni, manager of the Red Crescent’s Dubai branch. “If a lot of countries have exceeded in technology and health, the UAE has exceeded in its humanitarian aid.”

jbell@thenational.ae