'Can't ignore call to help': 70 volunteers work tirelessly to provide aid to stranded people after UAE floods

In just two days, their efforts have made a significant impact, benefiting over 10,000 people in flooded areas


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Sat 20 Apr 2024, 4:39 PM

Last updated: Sat 20 Apr 2024, 10:29 PM

As heavy rains lashed the UAE on April 16, leaving many residents stranded in flooded areas, a group of social media influencers emerged as lifelines for those in need. Responding swiftly to the situation, these influencers took to their social media platforms, offering assistance to anyone requiring help amid the deluge.

What began as individual efforts, soon escalated into a collective mission, with nearly 70 influencers joining together to address the pressing needs of those affected by the floods in 10 areas across Sharjah, including Majaz, Abu Shagara, Al Qasimiya, and Al Mahatta.

Nishadu, known as Shadu among the community, said: “All the stranded residents have to do is message us on WhatsApp with their requirements.”

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Upon receiving messages, the team organises the requests by neighbourhood and dispatches their fleet of 25 SUVs to deliver essential supplies promptly. “These supplies include food packets containing biryani, fruits, water, and other necessities, as well as items like medicines, sanitary pads and baby products,” said Shadu.

In just two days, their efforts have made a significant impact, benefiting over 10,000 people in flooded areas. “On the first day, we delivered aid to more than 5,000 people, and on the second day, over 6,000 people benefited,” said Shadu adding that the fleet of SUVs makes approximately four trips daily, ensuring aid reaches those in need promptly.

When asked about their motivation, he mentioned that the urgency of the situation, and said: “People are in trouble right in front of our eyes, and we couldn't ignore the call to help.”

While the group accepts donations, they strictly refuse monetary contributions, preferring aid in the form of supplies. “The UAE community has always been at the forefront when people are in need and we are really thankful to them,” said Shadu, adding that the community's overwhelming support has been admirable, as donations pour in to support their relief efforts.

“No matter where they are in these 10 areas, we will deliver aid to them, irrespective of any obstacles, including non-functioning lifts,” said Shadu affirmed.

Another group of volunteers who are providing essential aid to victims of flooding is from Aster DM Healthcare & Aster Volunteers. They are providing aid in the form of food, water, medicine, groceries, and teleconsultation with Aster mobile clinic doctors for employees of their group and their families (including kids), who are stranded at home due to power cuts and waterlogging. They are currently extending support to their co-workers residing in Dubai and Sharjah.

Additionally, 25 dedicated volunteers are involved in relief efforts, with the team already providing support to over 50 families to date. The relief efforts remain ongoing and will be extended to families in need across various affected areas, including Fujairah, Ajman, and RAK.

Asif Kalliyath, a volunteer said they initiated volunteering efforts after learning many of their staff were trapped inside a building without access to drinking water, and some even without electricity. “In some areas, water levels were nearly chest-high, with families of four or five struggling to survive. They were unable to leave their homes, and no one could deliver essential supplies to them. The first family we encountered had been without drinking water for almost four to five hours,” said Kalliyath.

“Our provisions included bread, milk, eggs, biscuits, and khuboos. With no working elevators and erratic electricity and water supply, the situation was dire,” he added.

Another volunteer, Sanavas Ismail, said that aster employees were stranded inside a villa with about 22 adults, 11 kids, including a special needs individual and an 8-month-old baby. “Upon reaching the location, we initially underestimated the water level, thinking it was only knee-deep. However, as we moved forward, the water reached almost up to my hip level, almost to my belly button. Despite the challenging conditions, we managed to deliver food and drinking water to all 33 individuals."

“Similar situations were observed in most buildings in the Sharjah's Al Majaz area, with water levels reaching chest height, and entire buildings flooded up to knee- level inside the reception,” added Ismail.

Free floor cleaners

UAE-based sustainable cleaning solutions company Ehfaaz, is offering its multi-purpose cleaner free of charge to those affected by the floods. The product is made entirely from reclaimed and repurposed materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. The multi-purpose cleaner is a friendly solution for cleaning homes, offices, warehouses, and cars.

Ehfaaz is giving away a total of 1,000 litres of its multi-purpose cleaner, with delivery for free of charge. An estimate 500 hundred families will potentially benefit at this time of need.

“We understand the challenges that many in our community are facing right now,” said Aliyu Mohammed Ali, CEO of Ehfaaz. “We are committed to using our business as a force for good, and we believe that our multi-purpose cleaner can help people get back on their feet after the floods.”


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