UAE expats join hands to support kin in flood-hit Indian states

india, kerala, floods, uae, dubai, abu dhabi expats

Dubai/Sharjah - Majority of the relief supplies are being collected for close to 300,000 victims in relief camps in Kerala


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Wed 14 Aug 2019, 11:10 PM

Last updated: Thu 15 Aug 2019, 1:12 AM

As various parts of India battle incessant rains and severe flood situations, expats in the UAE are doing everything in their power to help their kin back home.

Authorities have issued new flood alerts for parts of the southern state of Kerala as the nationwide death toll from the annual monsoon rose to at least 244.

Heavy rain in parts of at least five Indian states - Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Assam and Gujarat - have left UAE residents from these states extremely tensed. While some members of the community are collecting relief supplies, others are sending money through the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund of the respective states.

Majority of the relief supplies are being collected for close to 300,000 victims in relief camps in Kerala. According to the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA), a total of 102 deaths, 59 missing cases and 35 injuries have been reported in the state between August 8 and 14. Malappuram has recorded 42 deaths, the highest in the state.

Coorg in need of help

A total of 61 lives were lost in Karnataka, according to Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC). After Belgavi, a district that witnessed 15 deaths, Coorg is a district with the second-highest death toll of 10 people.

A small community of approximately 250 UAE residents have been doing their bit for their loved ones back home.

Dubai resident and senior member of UAE's Kodava (Coorgi) community Prakash Chinnappa Choundira said: "Kerala gets the maximum funds from the UAE because of their large number of people here. The situation in Coorg is worse than the floods of 2018. Nearly 60 per cent of Dubai-based Coorgis are back home, so distribution is limited to their villages."

Choundira added: "Once they come back, we will continue extending help for the next couple of months. Every month, people cannot afford to distribute relief. We do it in batches by donating to the Kodava Samaj in Madikeri (a central city in Coorg), Bengaluru, and Lion's Club in Gonikoppal." In this manner, the residents are able to track their funds and ensure money is being used in the right way. "The issue with sending to the chief minister's relief fund is that it goes to the Karnataka state as a whole. We are not sure if this would help people of Coorg," he said.

He also said that the government should've been better prepared after last year. "But that's not been the case. The administration has been asking help from the local people to chip in and help," added Choundira.

Tension rises

Dubai resident for over 14 years, Shilpa Mohite said she is worried for her relatives in Kolhapur and Sangli in Maharashtra. Originally from Mumbai, Shilpa has been doing her bit to help those in the worst-affected districts in the state. "It did take a while to understand it's really bad back home. The rains have been battering these two places. We have been working with friends who are involved in relief activities to ensure that the money reaches the right hands," said Mohite.

She also said sending supplies from the UAE is logistically challenging, so they are resorting to sending money towards individual relief operations.

Sumon Bordoloi, an Assamese expat, said he and his relatives have been sending money through relatives back home and through the Assam Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund. "We are trying to send relief supplies such as mustard oil, lot of bananas and clothes," said Bordoloi.

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