Kerala Floods: UAE Yet To Decide On Final Amount Of Assistance

The Logical Indian Crew Kerala

August 26th, 2018 / 8:00 PM

Image Credits: CMO Kerala/ Twitter, NDTV

As Kerala is struggling to find its ground after the devastating floods, financial aid and technical assistance have been pouring in from all corners of the country as well as from the world. One among those who have extended their support to the flood-ravaged state is United Arab Emirates (UAE).


UAE, Maldives, Qatar offer financial aid to Kerala

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on August 21 announced that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi had called up Prime Minister Modi where he made an offer of financial assistance worth Rs 700 crore to help rebuild the state of Kerala. In a series of tweets, the CM also expressed his gratitude for the gesture. The governments of Maldives and Qatar too, have pledged to send financial aids to Kerala.



CMO also said in a tweet that same was communicated to PM Modi by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.



CMO also clarified that the information about the aid was conveyed by Malayali businessman, owner of Lulu group and philanthropist Yusuff Ali M.A.



Interestingly, Prime Minister Modi thanked and expressed his gratitude to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE in a tweet on August 18.

The whole tweet thread can be accessed here.


“Not yet final”

As reported by The Indian Express, UAE Ambassador Ahmed Albanna said on August 23 that while a committee has been formed to assess the situation and offer assistance to the flood-ravaged state, no official number on assistance amount has yet been decided upon, “The assessment of relief needed for the flood and aftermath is ongoing. Announcing any specific amount as financial aid, I don’t think it is final, since it is still ongoing,” further speaking on the amount of Rs 700 crore, he said, “Yes, that is correct. It is not yet final. It has not been announced.”

The Indian expatriate community living and working in UAE is very large. Those living in UAE have been trying to help their home state with various kinds of assistance.


Why India might not accept foreign financial aid?

However, media reports suggest that India is most likely to decline any foreign financial aid for flood relief operations in Kerala. Reportedly, this is because of a policy that the UPA-I government had undertaken after the 2004 tsunami disaster. On December 2004, PM Singh famously said, “We feel that we can cope with the situation on our own and we will take their help if needed.”

According to government sources quoted by The Indian Express, the tsunami was a “watershed moment” of India’s foreign aid policy and since then, the subsequent governments have been systematically declining foreign financial assistance. However, the policy is not applicable to private contributions that have been pouring in from all over the world.

Until the 2004 tsunami, the Indian government had accepted financial assistance from foreign governments during the Uttarkashi earthquake (1991), Latur earthquake (1993), Gujarat earthquake (2001), Bengal cyclone (2002) and even the Bihar floods (July 2004). However, India’s change in stance has widely been viewed as a proclamation of the country’s self-worth. It is also an indication of India’s economic clout as the country has been providing aids to others.

Over the past 14 years, India had declined financial assistance from countries like the USA, Japan and Russia during the Kashmir earthquake of 2005, Uttarakhand floods of 2013, and Kashmir floods in 2014. Reportedly, Indian missions abroad have been asked to politely inform their host countries that no assistance is required and express gratitude as well.


Kerala needs economic assistance

Even though the water in Kerala has started to recede, what lies ahead for the state government is the momentous task of rebuilding it. With widespread destruction looming large over 13 or 14 districts of the state, the chief minister has earlier mentioned that the damages are over Rs 20,000 crores. After taking an account of the havoc in Kerala, the centre on August 21 released an advance amount of Rs 600 crore to Kerala in addition to waiving custom duty and GST on relief materials that have been imported.

Additionally, the chief minister has also demanded Rs 2600-crore MGNREGA special package for central schemes. Criticising the Modi government, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on August 18 had tweeted that what the central government has given as relief fund is insufficient for urgent relief and rescue funds.


Reportedly, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has also visited the United Nations headquarters in Geneva to ask for assistance in the Kerala floods.


Also Read: The Various Ways You Can Help Kerala Flood Victims


Contributors

Written by : Sromona Bhattacharyya

Edited by : Poorbita Bagchi

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