Telethon nears halfway mark

With the Dh25m raised on Wednesday, the 18million raised yesterday takes the total amount to over 43m, but still short of the 100m target.

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ABU DHABI // At least a further Dh18 million was raised yesterday in a national telethon in aid of flood victims in Pakistan, but viewers were reminded more was needed in the "month of giving". With the Dh25m raised on Wednesday, it takes the total amount raised to over Dh43m, almost half of the total Dh100m target. Organisers have said they expect the bulk of donations today. As much as Dh480,000 has been raised in text message donations.

The three-day campaign, called Awnkum, or "Your Help", was organised by the UAE's Red Crescent Authority (RCA) on the directive of Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE, to collect financial aid for 20 million displaced people. Dr Hamdan Muslim al Mazrouei, the president of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf), who appeared on the telethon yesterday, said the donations were generous but still not enough, particularly given that it is the holy month.

"Whoever directs someone towards a good deed will receive the same reward granted to that person," said Dr al Mazrouei, citing a hadith. He said today's sermon will remind worshippers of the urgency of the situation and the importance of donation. Famous Emirati, Egyptian and Syrian actors and directors urged viewers to donate. "We have so much more to do," said Dr Habib Ghaloum, an Emirati actor. "It is important that businessmen step in and help."

Yesterday's largest donation came from Sheikha Salamah bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, who donated Dh3m. Other donations included Dh1m from the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments and Dh1m from Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan bin Zayed, the son of the Ruler's representative in Al Gharbia. A further Dh100,000 came from each son and daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The telethon is being broadcast on Abu Dhabi TV, Abu Dhabi al Emarat, Abu Dhabi Poet and National Geographic Abu Dhabi. Viewers are encouraged to tune in tonight from 9.30 until midnight. Donations can be made by text message, phone or in person at the RCA's tents or stalls in various malls.

Telethon hotline: call tollfree 800RED or 800733 Text Etisalat: to donate Dh10: 6881, Dh50: 6885, Dh100: 4611, Dh200: 5200 Text du: to donate Dh10: 7110, Dh50: 7150, Dh100: 7100, Dh200: 7200