UAE marks 100 days of crucial aid for Syrian earthquake relief effort

The Emirates have delivered thousands of tonnes of aid, provided shelter and played a key role in rescue efforts following the disaster

Volunteers pack essential supplies for those affected by the earthquake in Syria and Turkey at Dubai World Trade Centre. Pawan Singh / The National
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The UAE has marked 100 days of delivering much needed aid to Syria in the aftermath of February's devastating earthquake.

It has launched 181 aid flights carrying 5,727 tonnes of food supplies, medicines and medical equipment and sent three ships loaded with 5,429 tonnes of essentials to assist citizens caught up in the natural disaster which struck the region on February 6.

President Sheikh Mohamed established Operation Gallant Knight 2, a co-ordinated humanitarian campaign to support those affected.

The confirmed death toll from the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks in Syria and Turkey approached 60,000, with millions more affected.

More than 8,000 of those killed were in Syria.

UAE search and rescue teams spent about 240 hours working to reach survivors trapped under the rubble of flattened buildings, state news agency Wam stated in a report detailing the support offered in the past 100 days.

The UAE also donated equipment used in rescue operations to the Syrian Civil Defence.

As well as delivering help on the ground, members of the public also played their part back in the Emirates.

Thousands of volunteers provided a vital helping hand for residents in both Syria and Turkey under the Bridges of Giving initiative.

They turned out at events held across the country to pack boxes of vital supplies such as dry food, blankets and toothpaste for survivors of the disaster.

The campaign was organised by the Emirates Red Crescent, the humanitarian arm of the government, and supported by several other charitable organisations, such as Dubai Cares and Sharjah International Charity.

More than 10,000 school bags and other supplies were delivered to pupils as they prepared to return to classrooms.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the ERC, allocated Dh20 million for Ramadan programmes in Syria, assisting 160,000 displaced families.

Under the scheme, 19,371 Ramadan ration parcels were distributed in the Latakia governorate, in north-western Syria, with 2,700 meals delivered daily in Latakia, as well as in the Aleppo, Hama and Homs governorates.

During Eid, clothes were donated to 4,290 families in four governorates, helping 17,160 Syrians.

Additionally, 20,000 bags of rice and flour were given out in four governorates.

Laying foundations for recovery

The UAE built 1,000 prefabricated homes in Latakia at a cost of Dh65 million to shelter families displaced by the earthquake, it was announced last month.

The ERC oversaw the project to house up to 6,000 people on the directive of President Sheikh Mohamed.

The solar-powered homes each have two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom.

A medical team with four specialists was also established to serve more than 800 elderly people, women and children in Latakia.

Humanitarian aid continues to be provided to those in need.

The UAE last week delivered food parcels to more than 600 healthcare workers in Syria.

The ERC distributed the supplies to medical professionals in hospitals in Latakia governorate, in north-western Syria, Wam reported on Sunday.

It was the latest show of support under the UAE's We Did Not Forget You drive, set up to thank those who worked tirelessly on the ground to assist those caught up in the natural disaster.

The Emirates earlier donated food and clothing to more than 500 Syrians involved in the major clean-up operation following the earthquake.

UAE Red Crescent gives Eid donations in Latakia, Syria – in pictures

Updated: May 16, 2023, 4:59 PM