Turkey-Syria earthquakes, Pakistan floods: Top 5 times UAE rushed to the aid of victims

Today marks one month since a devastating series of quakes ripped through Turkey and Syria, killing at least 50,000 and leaving many more injured

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Saltuk Arslan, 9-year-old, sits while visiting the remains of his home. Photo: reuters
Saltuk Arslan, 9-year-old, sits while visiting the remains of his home. Photo: reuters

Published: Mon 6 Mar 2023, 12:36 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Mar 2023, 3:26 PM

Today, March 6, marks one month since a devastating series of earthquakes ripped through Turkey and Syria, killing at least 50,000 people and leaving many more injured, tens of thousands still missing and hundreds of thousands homeless – making it one of the deadliest earthquakes this decade. So severe was the earthquake that it caused a more than 100 km (62 miles) rupture between the Anatolian and Arabian plates where it occurred.

In the wake of the disaster, the UAE wasted no time in rushing to the countries' aid. From pledging $100 million in relief funds, to setting up field hospitals, to even sending search-and-rescue teams and aid planes, the country left no stone unturned in offering the people of Turkey and Syria its support in the hour of need.

This is not the first time the nation has been a pillar of support for those in need, however; here are 5 times the UAE rushed to the aid of victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises, when they needed it the most.

1. UAE pledges $100 million for Turkey-Syria earthquake relief

The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ordered the provision of $100 million for the relief of those affected by the massive earthquakes in Syria and Turkey, pledging $50 million each to both countries.

The UAE also dispatched a search-and-rescue team to help people affected by the earthquake, and a field hospital – the largest of its kind in Turkey – was also set up to treat victims.

2. UAE pledges Dh184 million in humanitarian support to Afghanistan

In March 2021, the UAE pledged to carry out direct humanitarian projects in Afghanistan worth Dh184 million (US$50 million).

The aid reaffirmed the nation's solidarity with the people of Afghanistan – indeed, the UAE has provided the latter with more than Dh6.2 billion (US$1.7 billion) in assistance in recent years, focusing primarily on the food, healthcare, water, housing, education, and sanitation sectors to serve women and children in particular.

In September 2021, 12 planes carrying 285 tonnes of urgent food and medical supplies were sent to Afghanistan via an established airbridge to meet the needs of Afghan families.

Additionally, the UAE evacuated over 40,000 Afghans and foreign nationals from Afghanistan, and temporarily hosted thousands of evacuated Afghan families before they departed for their next destination.

3. UAE directs urgent aid, operates air bridge for Pakistan flood relief

In the wake of major floods in Pakistan that killed over 1,300 and left millions homeless last year, the World Health Organisation raise global alarm, appealing to countries around the world to come forward and offer support. The UAE stepped up immediately, moving tonnes of relief and millions of dirhams in donations as the country reeled under devastation.

The UAE’s Ministry of Defence operated an air bridge to transport relief and soon, 19 UAE flights — carrying food and supplies — landed in Pakistan.

The Emirates Red Crescent also launched a campaign, allowing people to donate via SMS. In a statement, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif thanked the UAE Government for its continued support, and particularly for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor between the two countries.

4. UAE provides $100 million in aid to Ukrainian civilians

From the very beginning of the Ukraine crisis, the UAE sent planes carrying relief aid to Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Bulgaria and Moldova, in line with the regional refugee response plan.

Furthermore, in October 2022, the nation announced that it would provide an additional $100 million in humanitarian aid to Ukrainian civilians affected by the crisis.

5. UAE pledges over $6 billion in humanitarian aid to Yemen

Since the start of 2021, the biggest recipient of aid from the UAE has been Yemen, having received over $435 million that year. In fact, since 2015, the UAE has donated more than $6 billion in humanitarian assistance to the people of Yemen.

In April 2022, the UAE contributed to a $2 billion pledge for economic support to the Central Bank of Yemen. This fund aims to stabilise the Yemeni economy, improve access to basic services and ease the economic crisis.


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