Abu Dhabi, Aug 21: Indian expats enthusiasm to help flood victims in Kerala should not lead them to the wrong side of the law on fund raising in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India's Ambassador warned here. "The feedback received from the UAE government suggested that some individuals and organisations are involved in fund raising. I have to draw the attention of fellow Indians to the local laws (on fund raising)," Navdeep Singh Suri told the media on Monday. He said only organisations that have special permission from the UAE's Community Development authorities can collect money and remit it abroad, the Gulf News reported on Tuesday. Suri said the UAE authorities, including the Central Bank, have given the clearance for sending money directly to the Kerala Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF), which Suri said was the best way to help the flood victims.
"We don't want well-meaning efforts for the flood victims ending up in trouble. We are very mindful and respectful of local laws," the Ambassador said. Suri also advised community organisations not to open temporary money exchange counters at their premises since the local laws do not permit it. Al Ansari Exchange, the UAE Exchange and Lulu Exchange are facilitating free-of-cost remittance to the CMDRF, said the Gulf News.
Urging people to refrain from sending relief materials, the Ambassador said he had discouraged people who offered to send large amount of mineral water and medicines to Kerala. "First of all sending medicines needs special permission. Moreover, India is the pharmacy of the world. You can get medicines in India at one tenth cost in the UAE," he explained.
Following the worst flooding in a century, over one million people are now sheltered in 3,274 relief camps in Kerala. The death toll since the monsoon rains began on May 29 has been estimated at around 370.