On Tuesday the UAE wrapped up a humanitarian week, in accordance with directives from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and with follow-up by the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to raise funds for refugees and others in the Levant to help them survive the recent powerful snow storm Huda.
Officials announced that the UAE Compassion campaign (Tarahmu) has raised more than Dh 208 million in financial donation and hundreds of tonnes of kind assistance worth Dh 20 million, thanks to the enthusiastic response to the President's humanitarian appeal from government institutions, non-government organisations and individuals.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has instructed humanitarian and relief agencies in the UAE to continue delivery of humanitarian assistance to refugees and other people in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq's Kurdistan throughout the winter season. UAE aid agencies will distribute winter relief materials and food assistance to help them endure freezing temperatures.
Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the UAE Compassion National Committee, stated that early directives from the President had contributed significantly to rescuing thousands of people from the Middle East's most severe snowstorm and has drawn the attention of the international community to the suffering of millions of refugees and other people in the Levant and Iraq due to the harsh winter weather.
International appreciation, he noted, continued to pour into the country in response to the President's humanitarian efforts, adding that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has underlined the role HH is playing in international humanitarian work.
Al Gergawi noted that the daily, close follow up of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid of the relief operations had been instrumental in the swift delivery of assistance to those in need before the snowstorm reached its peak. 'Our humanitarian organisations have achieved an international precedence by delivering relief assistance to the Levant in less than 12 hours.' The campaign aimed at helping one million people and refugees in camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and other Palestinian regions, to survive a harsh winter as the Levant countries continue suffering from a devastating snow storm Huda.
He also announced that as of the final day of the week-long humanitarian campaign, more than Dh 208 million was raised, in addition to kind assistance of Dh 20 million. However, relief agencies working on the ground estimate that the number of beneficiaries would rise to over two million. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, said the daily field follow up of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and President of Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), has notably contributed towards facilitating distribution of aid and ensuring success of the campaign in the country as well as outside.
"At the end of the Emirati humanitarian week, we can say that the UAE, its wise and generous leadership and people who are distinguished with noble humanitarian characteristics, have proven that the country will always follow in the footsteps of and values inculcated by the founding fathers." The total aid raised by the campaign in six days has reached 450 tonnes of food stuffand medical and winter assistance, exceeding Dh 20million in cost.
The campaign also launched an aid bridge and provided aid to over 520,000 persons at the beginning of the snowstorm.
The air bridge will continue in the coming days to transfer assistance such as heating equipment, winter clothing and food items, which are still being received at the ERC stores across the country.
The aid reached the affected people and refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraqi Kurdistan and Palestine and the UAE Compassion campaign exceeded its goal which was to provide aid to a million refugees by raising financial and in-kind assistance, eventually benefitting more than two million refugees in the coming period.