India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the World Government Summit in Dubai in February 2018. The UAE is sending relief to India’s flood-stricken state of Kerala, a testament to the strong ties between the two countries. Photo: AFP/Karim Sahib
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: AFP/Karim Sahib

The United Arab Emirates, ahead of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, has been mobilizing relief efforts for the Indian state of Kerala, where hundreds have perished in flash floods.

“The people of Kerala have always been and are still part of our success story in the UAE. We have a special responsibility to help and support those affected, especially during this holy and blessed days,” the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed tweeted over the weekend.

The UAE is home to about two million Indians, the majority of whom hail from the southern state of Kerala. They work in every strata of the labor force, from taxi drivers to accountants, and run some of the country’s most successful enterprises.

The Emirati government last week formed a national emergency committee to coordinate relief efforts for Kerala.

On Sunday, the governmental Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan Foundation announced it had collected ten million dirhams ($2.7 million) for the campaign.

Indian-origin billionaire Yusuffali M.A., the chairman of the Lulu hypermarket chain, and B.R. Shetty, the chairman of NMC Healthcare and UAE Exchange, each pledged 5 million dirhams ($1.4 million) to the foundation, Arabian Business reported.

Aside from high profile pledges, UAE residents have organized small-scale donations and grassroots collections of supplies.

The Emirates Red Crescent, for its part, launched a donation campaign “One hand to help Kerala” on its site, encouraging people to give what they can — 20, 50 or 100 dirhams (approximately $5, $15 or $30).