Australia thanks UAE for #MatesHelpMates bushfire campaign efforts

'You know who your friends really are when a trouble strikes,' said Australian Governor General David Hurley

The Australian Ambassador to the UAE, Heidi Venamore, has thanked the UAE for its contribution to tackling the country's bushfire crisis.

During a 'Celebrate Australia' event on Monday held by the Australian Embassy, the newly-appointed envoy said she had arrived in the country "at a time when the UAE has been demonstrating extraordinary generosity and kindness towards Australia".

"The UAE has shown us the kind of help that is effective in helping many communities deal with the onslaught of the fires," she said.

The UAE introduced several campaigns to support Australia, including the Emirates Red Crescent’s #MatesHelpMates bushfire appeal, and the efforts of the country’s airlines - Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines.

The #MatesHelpMates grassroots movement was launched to raise funds and support people impacted by the unprecedented bushfires in Australia.

Venamore offered her "heartfelt thanks" to the UAE and "everyone who has given of themselves to help Australians in need".

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - The new Australian ambassador, Heidi Venamore thanking the United Arab Emirates for their efforts with the recent wild fires at St. Regis, Nation Towers. Khushnum Bhandari for The National
Australian ambassador Heidi Venamore thanked the UAE for sending aid and donating funds for the relief effort. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

The event saw some 300 individuals from the UAE and Australian expat community come together to celebrate UAE-Australia ties.

Also attending the event was Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, along with business people, officials and military personnel from various nations.

During her speech, Ambassador Venamore noted that ties between the two countries had "advanced to new levels."

"Our business, defence, security, aviation, education and people to people links are thriving," she said.

Currently, the UAE is Australia’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, with two-way goods and services trade reaching AU$9.8 billion (Dh24billion) during the 2018-2019 period.

The ambassador said despite the onslaught of the bushfire season, "Australia is very much working to ensure everyone knows that we are still open for business".

As of January, the reported death toll reached 33 individuals, and more than 11 million hectares (110,000 square kilometres) of bush, forest and parks across the country has burned.

A special video message by the Australian Governor General, David Hurley, was shown.

"We have a saying here in Australia, that you know who your friends really are when a trouble strikes," he said.

"The response by the UAE to the bushfire crisis in Australia strengthens an already strong relationship between us," he added.

Some 25,000 Australians currently live in the UAE, making it the ninth largest Australian overseas community.

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Published: February 11, 2020 05:00 PM


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