Residents line up to give blood to injured UAE soldiers

Residents line up to give blood to injured UAE soldiers
Residents queue up to donate blood at Latifa Hospital, Dubai, on Saturday.

People throng Dubai Blood Donation Centre to donate blood for the injured, a day after tragic Yemen attack.


Kelly Clarke

Published: Sun 6 Sep 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 26 Nov 2015, 1:58 PM

Hundreds of UAE residents turned up at Latifa Hospital to donate blood on Saturday, as the country mourned the loss of 45 soldiers who died in the line of duty in Yemen on Friday.
In a bid to show support for the remaining wounded soldiers being treated at an Abu Dhabi hospital, many donors asked if the blood would be sent to the country's capital to treat those who were injured while fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Maryam Mohammed Meftah was among hundreds who turned up on the day. As well as donating blood, she volunteered by helping organise the crowds.
For Meftah, the cause was very close to home. Her brother has been stationed out in Yemen for two months and is now serving his third month.
"We heard the news of the fallen soldiers on Instagram on Friday. We were very scared. My mum was shouting as we were trying to contact my brother for more than two hours. We didn't know if he was hurt or even dead."
However, Mariam's 29-year-old brother, Ahmed, returned their calls. "He called to say he was very busy and he is okay."
Mariam said volunteering at the blood bank was a "small thing" compared to the sacrifices some people make for their country, but she will continue to do what she can. As for her brother, she is looking forward to his safe return when his duty ends, but she is aware of the situation he is in.
"He is there to serve his country. We all hope for his safe return but if anything was to happen we know it was all for our country. None of our soldiers die in vain."
Saturday's turnout saw both locals and expatriates show their support for the Emirati martyrs who died in Yemen. A total of 350 units of blood were collected at the Dubai Blood Donation Centre.
Officials, however, said that there was an adequate supply of blood in the country.
Dr Laila Al Shaer, head of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) that runs the centre thanked the donors. She also requested people to keep coming back throughout the year instead of on a single day. "We would like to assure people that there is an adequate supply of blood." She also said that blood donation is a noble and humanitarian gesture and people should register with the blood bank so that they are able to donate regularly.
"All through the year, we encourage people, especially those with rare blood groups to register with us."
Besides the centre, the Dubai Police and Dubai Marine Club mobile units collected 100 units.
The centre is closed on Saturdays but was opened due to huge public demand. A similar campaign is being run on Twitter in Saudi Arabia after which a number of people turned up in hospitals to donate. For 34-year-old Fahad Al Saffar donating blood for his countrymen was the least he could do.
"I heard about the soldiers who died in Yemen yesterday so that's why I came down. It's my way of giving something back to my country," he told Khaleej Times.
Donating around five bags of blood, Al Saffar said he will continue to support his country and countrymen in any way he can.
"The loss of these soldiers was so tragic but they were fighting for their country. I will continue to support our soldiers and my country."

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