Australian Community Raises Dh40,000 for Bushfire Victims

ABU DHABI - Over 300 Australians, who gathered here for a candlelight vigil on Saturday evening in memory of the 181 people who died in bushfires in the state of Victoria recently, raised Dh40,000 by auctioning different items including a jumper signed by Australian football team ‘Socceroos’.

By Haseeb Haider

Published: Tue 17 Feb 2009, 1:50 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 7:53 PM

It was the first of such events organised by the community of around 7,000 people to remember those who lost their lives and properties to the bushfires. Australian Ambassador to the UAE Jeremy Bruer hoped more such events could be organised.

He said none of the Australians living in the UAE has reported loss of any relative in the fires back home.

The vigil was organised by Aussies Abroad, an Abu Dhabi-based social group. Its president, Mohannad Hourani,said the organisation has received a tremendous response from the 
Australian diaspora.

Indonesian Ambassador to the UAE M. Wahid Supriyadi also took part in the vigil as a mark of solidarity with the Australians.

Jeremy Bruer led the prayers in memory of the dead, while The Boolas band, which was specially flown in from Australia, played the national anthem and read the poem, “My Country”.

The participants also observed one 
minute’s silence.

A jumper signed by Socceroos, the Aussie football team, was auctioned for Dh5,000, while two Etihad Airways return ticket to Melbournefetched Dh12,500.

Hourani said the amount would be forwarded to the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009, the officially recognised charity organisation for the collection of 
support money.

Hourani said: “We are overwhelmed by the number that attended, given the very short notice we gave. People rallied together quickly to show their support.”

“The need to help is immediate, and the Abu Dhabi community, Australians and friends from many other lands came to the fore.

“It was a truly proud moment for us to see so many people come together in the true Aussie spirit and lend a helping hand to our fellow mates in need,”
he said.

Australians in Abu Dhabi who wish to donate to the appeal can do so directly to the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009 link: or contact Aussies Abroad for
more information.

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