With Kerala witnessing its worst flood in 100 years, UAE’s Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum described the people of Kerala as part of their “success story” and decided to lend a helping hand to the flood-ravaged state.
Sheikh Mohammed on Saturday instructed the immediate formation of a national emergency committee tasked with providing relief assistance to the people affected by the floods in Kerala.
On Twitter, Sheikh Mohammed urged everyone to contribute generously towards this initiative. “The people of Kerala have always been and are still part of our success story in the UAE. We have a special responsibility to help and support those affected, especially during this holy and blessed days,” he said.
Chaired by the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), the committee will include representatives from the UAE’s humanitarian organisations and will seek the help of dignitaries of the Indian resident community. He also urged the citizens of UAE to extend a helping hand to Indians. “Ahead of Eid Al Adha, do not forget to extend a helping hand to our brothers in India,” he said.
Trade links between the Malabar coast and the Gulf have existed since the 4th century. However, in the last 50 years, migration from Kerala has strengthened ties with the region. The community from Kerala forms a significant part of the Indian community in the region, where almost 8 million Indian people live and work.
Navdeep Suri, Indian ambassador to the UAE, said, “There are obviously deep historical links between the Gulf and Malabar coast… so there is a strong emotional connection.” And, he said, there is a large Indian community in the UAE. “They are widely recognised for their contribution to the UAE,” Suri said. This has led to the desire to form a committee to provide assistance. “This message from UAE Vice President speaks volumes about the special relationship between India and UAE and between our people,” Suri said.
The Indian envoy is in touch with the Indian community, and will chair a meeting on Sunday with major community organisations, activists and business leaders to coordinate relief support from the UAE. Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded on Twitter: “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.”