UAE Global Humanitarian Assistance Drive

Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

Humanitarian assistance is one of the salient features of the UAE foreign policy. According to Global Humanitarian Assistance (2010), the UAE has become the first non-western nation in the global top 10 humanitarian aid donors per head of population. Donations of US$138.9 million in 2009, an average of $30.30 (Dh111.28) per person, put the country in seventh place. The United Arab Emirates has pledged US$7,194,000 for a number of UN development programmes and funds during the year 2012. Ambassador Ahmed Al-Jarman, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations announced this before the United Nations Pledging Conference for Development Activities 2011.

UAE celebrated its 40th National Day on December 2, 2011. During all these years, UAE government, its charities, i.e. Khalifa Bin Zayed Humanitarian Foundation, UAE Red Crescent, UAE Armed Forces, Zayed Foundation for humanitarian and charitable work and Sharja Charitable Society and people achieved new skies of generosity by rigorously initiating diversified humanitarian assistance activities around the globe during 2011.

UAE charities carried forward the golden spirits of generous humanitarian assistance programs in all the continents of the world not confined to Australian flood, New Zealand’s earthquakes, Palestine camps, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Thailand, Afghanistan and the last but not the least Pakistan for the help of needy people confronted colossal natural catastrophes. According to Global Humanitarian Assistance (2010), UAE is now the second largest non-DAC donor of humanitarian aid since 2004.

A large number of development projects relating to education, infrastructure, health, clean drinking water have also been carried forward in different parts of the world especially with the help of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and Dubai Cares. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Palestine Authority, Seychelles and the South Pacific were the main recipients of aid during 2011.

UAE is our strategic partner which always stands first to extend generous humanitarian assistance in times of national crises in shape of devastating floods, fatal earthquakes or thunderstorms. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE is always the first one to respond immediately on the requests of government of Pakistan by advising the UAE charities for relief goods and other related activities. UAE Charities humanitarian assistance programs and gigantic efforts in the relief, rescue, recovery and rehabilitation fields in earthquake of 2004 and also series of floods 2010-2011 have already won the hearts and souls of the struggling local people.

UAE Armed Forces played a magnificent by carrying out grand operations of rescue, distribution of relief goods, and logistics to different parts of Pakistan. Chinooks rigorously participated in the humanitarian assistance activities in the most flood affected regions of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochitsan. UAE Military Field Hospitals launched effective vaccination campaigns to save children, women and elderly people from different diseases. Water purification plants were also set up to provide clean drinking water in the most flood affected areas.

Most recently, UAE Embassy in Pakistan under the supervision of its ambassador Eissa Abdullah Al Basha Al Noaimi demonstrated strong commitment towards the greater human cause of helping the needy, poor and struggling people of Sindh, currently confronting devastating flood. UAE charities were busy to help the most affected people of Sindh province, Badin, Sanghar Mohammed Tando Khan, Mirpur Khas and Nawabshah battling out their survival.

UAE Ambassdor Noiami appreciated the UAE team carrying out its gracious cause of humanitarian assistance. He assured that existing humanitarian assistance will be continued along with the successfully going on UAE Assistance Project to Pakistan already, gathered momentous appreciation from GOP and its people. He said that UAE relief team activities including distribution of foodstuff have succeeded to lessen some basic problems of the downtrodden people.

On development front, the UAE allocated $100 million dollars to Pakistan for the construction of more than 51 schools (primary & secondary), technical institutions, several healthcare centres, building roads and bridges, infrastructure and supply of safe drinking water schemes. Work on these projects are going briskly and it is hope that after the completion it would generate employment and reduce ratios of poverty in these selected areas of Swat, South Waziristan, other North Western districts and the tribal area.

UAE played extraordinary work to minimize the horrible effects of Horn of Africa largely caused by hunger, poverty and famine through its extended spells of humanitarian assistance activities in African continent. Unlimited precious lives were saved by providing foodstuff, shelter, cloths and medicines. Most recently, According to UAE Red Crescent aid relief contained 84 tonnes of relief materials, including 53 tonnes of canned food and dates, 15 tonnes of emergency tents and 15 tonnes of carpets and floor mats were sent to Somalia and Ethiopia. Another plane was sent to the Republic of Djibouti, carried 93 tonnes of food items and tents, and distribution was done on the Djibouti borders. The UAE Charity Initiative for treating one million children has been launched a massive vaccination programme to protect children in the Horn of Africa against contagious diseases.

UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan promised a grant of US$250 million for reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. UAE peace troops have been engaged in diversified humanitarian work such as providing aid and medical services for the last eight years. The UAE has also provided over US $ 1.5 billion dollars over the last decade for rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes. There are six funded medical clinics, 11 schools, 38 mosques, a general public library, a hospital, and an accommodation for displaced families. In 2009, the UAE committed more than Dh1.26 billion in aid, which represents 14 per cent of its total foreign aid in 2009. In addition to the government’s provisions, the people of the UAE contributed $22 million for food, medicine, housing and shelter, and basic relief projects.

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