Massive aid effort for Lebanon war victims

DUBAI — From small grocery bags to truckloads of goods, the Emirati-Lebanese Friendship Association (ELFA) has launched a massive aid effort to send supplies to those in Lebanon affected by the ongoing Lebanese-Israeli conflict.

By Salma Sidki

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Published: Mon 24 Jul 2006, 11:31 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:17 PM

Following special orders issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the ELFA, a non-government, non-profit humanitarian organisation, has assured it will extend all possible help it can.

“It's not enough to send money to the Red Cross or some other organisation and then just go sit on the beach and say, ‘I've done my part',” said Joseph Ghossoub, a founding member of ELFA.

ELFA has already issued advertisements across Dubai TV, radio and newspapers to a call for aid. At the American University of Dubai (AUD), a special donation effort is already underway.

For five days and counting, ELFA members, AUD administrators, students and community volunteers of all nationalities and ages have spent more than 14 hours daily organising the aid effort.

The effort, involving 150 to 200 volunteers daily, is spread across various AUD buildings.

Ghossoub stated that countless donations have been received from people, private corporations, rulers and everyone else in between.

Noor Al Geziry, a UAE national, has spent the past three days packaging, loading and unloading in contribution to the effort. Al Geziry, her brother, and a group of their friends also collected around Dhs15,000 and bought supplies to be sent with the ELFA's.

"We bought some of the stuff ourselves and also bought bulk orders from places such as Carrefour," explained the 21-year old. "I've never seen the country but it means a lot to me to do this. It's very unfortunate that this happened and if we can help out then why not," added Al Geziry.

ELFA has already sent one container load of aid material that has arrived safely, while the second is on its way. Once in Lebanon, ELFA members and other humanitarian organizations stationed there distribute the goods according to the need of the people. Ghossoub said that the ELFA plans to continue this effort for as long as it's needed.

Items sent include candles, canned foods, meats and beans, water, milk, hygienic and cleaning supplies, baby and children supplies, sugar, flour and more. Ghossoub added, the most important items which have been sent are ready-to-eat foods.

Elie Sawaya, an AUD official, explained that ELFA had received 1,500 boxes of glucose biscuits and 500 boxes of dates that are very important because they provided immediate physical energy.

As for medicine, ELFA has three containers ready to be sent, but the logistics are still being worked out for this big consignment. Both Ghossoub and Sawaya stressed that ELFA was in need of more cash donations for items that cannot be shipped such as beds, mattresses and emergency medicines — which must be bought from Syria or Jordan.

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