India rejects UAE govt’s $100m flood disaster fund offer

India may not accept aid from foreign countries for flood-hit Kerala

The statement said after floods and landslides in Kerala last month, an interim memorandum was submitted by the state government on 21 July and immediately an inter-ministerial team was constituted that visited the state on 7-12 August for assessment of damages.

The United Arab Emirates offered Rs 700 crore, Qatar Rs 35 crore and Maldives Rs 35 lakh to India to deal with the huge loss of life and property during the recent floods in Kerala.

Her predecessor Shivshankar Menon replied from memory that the 2004 UPA government decision that is now being cited as policy of not accepting foreign assistance "was not to accept foreign participation in relief but accept it for long-term rehabilitation case by case".

"National Disaster Management Plan Chapter 9 on worldwide cooperation accepts that in time (of) severe calamity voluntary aid given by a foreign gov can be accepted. Please send money to the chief minister's relief fund and not to NGOs that are not credible", he said.

The controversy over UAE's Rs 700-crore offer for flood relief sparked a protest on Thursday with netizens launching a hashtag campaign on Twitter, #LetKeralaLive.

India, in fact, extended $25 million financial aid to Pakistan, which had sought help from worldwide community.

The home ministry should coordinate with the external affairs ministry-the agency primarily responsible for reviewing offers of foreign assistance-and the concerned state government, if it is to accept foreign aid, the NDMP states. "The refusal to accept foreign assistance is an act of vengeance", Balakrishnan said.

Late on Wednesday night, in the wake of the offers, the MEA spokesperson said India deeply appreciated offers from several countries, including from foreign governments, to assist in relief and rehabilitation efforts after the tragic floods.

Individual donations thought to total millions have also been made. India's prime minister at the time, Manmohan Singh, said: "We feel that we can cope with the situation on our own and we will take [other countries'] help if needed".

Until the 2004 tsunami, the Indian government had accepted financial assistance from foreign governments during the Uttarkashi quake (1991), Latur natural disaster (1993), Gujarat quake (2001), Bengal cyclone (2002) and even the Bihar floods (July 2004).

There are an estimated three million Indians in the UAE, with many from Kerala which has a large Muslim population. There were also reports claiming Thailand's offer of assistance and aid was rejected.

Numerous new arrivals in relief camps are people who have returned to their homes to find them uninhabitable. "We said no to relief but accepted support for rehab". Those living in UAE have been trying to help their home state with various kinds of assistance. "We asked the Union government for financial support of Rs 2200 crore; they grant us a precious Rs 600 crore". Rescue operations were carried out at a full force as almost 82,000 people were saved during the first day of the operations.

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