Look: UAE President, grandchildren meet volunteers packing relief supplies for Turkey, Syria quake victims

Sheikh Mohamed interacted with the volunteers, hugging some of the younger ones and posing for photos


Sahim Salim

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Published: Sun 5 Mar 2023, 6:34 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Mar 2023, 4:43 PM

Thousands of volunteers across the UAE have been packing relief supplies for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria for over three weeks now. And on Sunday, they received encouragement from the highest quarters: The President.

Photos posted by the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) show the President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, visiting the Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi, where hundreds of volunteers were packing essentials for the earthquake victims from 10am.

The President checked on the youngest volunteers like a true father figure, even getting down on his knees to lovingly adjust the ERC jacket of a young volunteer.

His children and grandchildren accompanied him to the arena, where thousands of relief boxes were packed in a little over six hours. The young royals also took part in packing food and other essentials for Turks and Syrians who are struggling to rebuild their lives a month after the devastating earthquakes.

Sheikh Mohamed is seen at the venue, actively interacting with the volunteers. ERC officials briefed him about the progress of their ‘Bridges of Good’ campaign as part of which volunteers are mobilising relief supplies for the victims.

Last month's earthquake flattened multiple cities, killing more than 51,000 people across Turkey and parts of Syria. Survivors are housed in temporary shelters like tents and containers.

The UAE was among the first countries to send help to the two countries. On February 15, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed ordered the provision of an additional $50 million as relief aid for Syria, with $20 million allocated to implement humanitarian projects in response to the emergency appeal of the United Nations (UN). He had previously directed the provision of $50 million each for Syria and Turkey.

Besides sending hundreds of flights with thousands of tonnes of foodstuff, medical supplies and other essentials, the country has set up state-of-the-art field hospitals in the quake-hit zones. Its search and rescue teams pulled out people alive after being trapped under the rubble for over 100 hours. The country also flew in critically injured victims to hospitals in the UAE so that they can get the best possible treatment.

As on March 2, the UAE has flown 134 cargo planes to Syria, transporting supplies weighing 4,413 tonnes. The country has flown tonnes of aid to Turkey as well.

As part of ‘Bridges of Good’, thousands of volunteers have been collecting and packing vital care packets across the UAE for the victims of the catastrophic earthquakes. They have assembled, sorted and packed vital supplies, including blankets, bedsheets, tea powder, toothpaste, brush, soap, shampoo, canned food, rice and cooking oil among others. UAE residents can donate to the campaign via the ERC website.


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