Dubai: Community associations, wellness groups, business entities and expatriates from Kerala to the United Arab Emirates have joined forces to send medical support to their home state in India to fight the COVID pandemic- 19.
The first shipment of expatriate medical aid to the United Arab Emirates took off from Dubai on Tuesday, said OV Mustafa, director of the Norka Roots department for Keralite expatriates, based in the United Arab Emirates.
The move came after an appeal by the state’s chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, to Malayali expatriates around the world to support the state in its fight against the pandemic. As a result, an initiative called “Care for Kerala” was launched under Norka Roots.
In the United Arab Emirates, the relief work of Malayali community groups has been coordinated under the leadership of the standing committee chairman of OV Mustafa and Loka Kerala Sabha and the director of Norka, Dr Azad Moopen, who is also chairman and director. General of Aster DM Healthcare, based in the United Arab Emirates.
The collection and dispatch of sponsored relief materials were channeled through Aster volunteers and the Dubai International Humanitarian City (CSI).
The first shipment worth around Rs.5.5million was airlifted via IHC Dubai via Emirates Cargo, said Jaleel PA, head of corporate social responsibility at Aster DM Healthcare.
Emirates had launched a humanitarian airlift to transport COVID-19 relief supplies to India for free. The Indian government had also removed import duties on medical equipment, drugs and supplies for COVID-19 donations.
Relief items sent to Kerala in the first shipment include four medical ventilators, 43 oxygen concentrators, 171 oxygen cylinders and 2,830 pulse oximeters.
Groups that sponsored the relief materials include Kerala Muslim Cultural Center, United Arab Emirates, Malayalee World Council units, Kerala College Elders Forum (AKCAF) volunteers, AKCAF events , Model Service Society, Oruma Ruwais, Kerala Medical Graduates Association, Engineering Community, Kairali Fujairah, Indian School, Al Ain, ORMA, RAI Int’l FZCO, UHY James CA, Rays of Hope Al Ain , WMC Al Ain Women’s Forum, Anbodu UAE, Tharattu Al Ain, Sevanam Al Ain, Welfare Association of Kannur Expats, Al Ain Malayalee Samajam, Yuva Kalasahithi, Al Zaytoon Fujairah
Contributions have also been made at the individual level by OVM and his friends, Shamnad and his friends, Devassy Jose, Akhil Vinayak, Jayasree Linob.
Mustafa said more relief items will be sent in the second shipment. “We received several other promises, including ventilators, as well as the establishment of oxygen plants. These will be reconfirmed once goods have been received or payments made to suppliers. “
Similar initiatives are underway across the GCC and all of these activities are greatly appreciated, he said, urging individuals and organizations to expedite their delivery or payments to suppliers as soon as possible. Bahrain’s contributions were also sent on Tuesday.
“The documentation process for the second shipment from the United Arab Emirates will start tomorrow. The scheduled launch date for the second shipment is May 31. Therefore, I ask all associations and social groups to come forward and procure or deliver items in order to reach the Aster DM warehouse no later than May 29, ”he added.
More help in sight
In addition to logistical support, Jaleel said that the Aster Volunteers team also provided support to the sponsors to purchase quality materials at the best price from various suppliers in UAE or India.
He said more support has been channeled for the immediate future by various sponsors for oxygen cylinders, HFNC (High Flow Nasal Cannula) nasal cannulas and oxygen generators etc. for use in various hospitals. government agencies across Kerala.
“The total support expected in the initial phase of the shipment is over Rs 10 million excluding the oxygen production plants.”
Kerala grateful to expats
Speaking to Gulf News by phone from Kerala, K. Harikrishnan Namboothiri, CEO of Norka Roots, praised the contributions of Malayali expatriates and said the state would appreciate it.
“This once again showed the harmony and cooperation of our expat community that we can feel in these times of distress,” he said, recalling the enormous contributions made by expats during the devastating floods. in Kerala in 2018 and 2019.
“The new contribution came from a merger of entities representing a representative sample of expatriates from several organizations who joined together for a common cause. This will significantly help the state to fight this global pandemic. “
Thanking and appreciating the expatriates for their contributions, he added: “They are the pillars of our state not only for the development of the state. They have been a reliable and reliable support during times of distress. “
Kerala has so far reported more than 2.3 million cases of COVID-19 and 7,731 deaths. The state currently has 255,406 cases of active infection while 2,132,071 patients have recovered.
Aster Volunteers team and Norka Roots with the first shipment of COVID-19 medical aid from Keralite expat groups in UAE