Kerala floods: UAE pledges $100 million, state seeks Rs 2,600-cr central package

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Thiruvananthapuram | August 22, 2018 4:57 AM

The UAE government has pledged an assistance of $100 million (roughly Rs 700 crore) to rebuild Kerala

floods, kerala floods, rescue operationsA soldier rescues people in Ernakulam on Tuesday

The UAE government has pledged an assistance of $100 million (roughly Rs 700 crore) to rebuild Kerala, which suffered huge devastation of lives, livestock, crops, homes, and civic and business infrastructure. As many as 10.3 lakh people are displaced and in relief camps and the death toll from floods has neared 400.

The Kerala Cabinet on Tuesday decided to seek a Rs 2,600-crore special package from the Centre under the centrally-sponsored schemes including the rural employment programme MNREGS.
Rebuilding would need a phenomenal corpus of funds, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan told mediapersons. Kerala’s annual plan outlay for the current fiscal is `37,248 crore. A preliminary estimate of the damages amount to Rs 20,000 crore, without factoring in the losses to individual property. Once the loss in roads, bridges and vital infrastructure are worked out, the loss estimate is feared to escalate. Nedumbassery airport alone has suffered about Rs220-crore damages.

In this context, Kerala was especially grateful for the UAE’s contribution, according to the chief minister. “I would like to express my gratitude to the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the vice-president and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid on behalf of Malayalis. The Gulf is the second home for many Keralites. Keralites are more than workers there and in our current crisis, the people in the Gulf are as distressed as we are. Sheik Mohammed has communicated to the prime minister about their decision to help to the UAE-based businessman Yusuf Ali, when the latter met him for Bakrid greetings,” Vijayan said.

Last week, the UAE prime minister had formed an emergency committee to provide relief . According to Vijayan, “This promise gives us stamina, and the feeling that the world community is with us, during crisis.”
Earlier, the UAE-based Indian-origin business community had announced Rs12.5 crore for flood relief operations, including `5 crore each from Yusuff Ali of Lulu Group and KP Hussain, chairman of Fathima Healthcare Group, and `2 crore from BR Shetty, chairman of Unimoni and UAE Exchange.

Later, Azad Moopen, chairman, Aster DM Healthcare, has pledged Rs 5 crore.

The chief minister cautioned on miscreants on social media causing confusions on donations, at a time of stark crisis in Kerala.

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