Dubai samaritan sends boats to Pakistan

The managing broker of a yacht chartering company pays for special Zodiac vessels to help transport aid.

Victims of Pakistan's widespread flooding will soon be receiving aid delivered in special boats donated by a UAE benefactor. Ian Lawrie, the managing broker at ART Marine, a yacht-chartering company based in Dubai, is organising the donation of 10 Zodiac boats to the Aman Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in Karachi.

The boats will join another 10 Zodiacs donated from the United Kingdom. The foundation will use them in conjunction with Pakistan's navy to help deliver food and other types of aid and rescue those stranded by the floods, which cover about one-fifth of the country and have displaced as many as four million people. The money for the boats came from an anonymous donor in Dubai, who asked Mr Lawrie to organise the purchase.

"He is a major contributor to the charity in Pakistan and has close links to me and requested that I go out and procure this equipment to be shipped out," said Mr Lawrie. Mr Lawrie also donated his own boat, and his company paid for the engine that powers it. Zodiacs are designed for use in shallow water, and are so light that they can be carried. Despite this they are sturdy, and can carry up to 15 people, or eight people and four on stretchers. A Zodiac with a motor costs roughly US$10,000 (Dh36,729) and can carry approximately 1,000 kilograms of cargo.

According to Naeem Razwani, the manager of communications at the Aman Foundation, the boats will be used to support the aid and rescue efforts. "The Aman Foundation has deployed about 100 paramedic staff in Punjab, and they are supported by 10 advanced life-support ambulances." Some of the new boats will be used to shuttle paramedics to the injured and stranded. The rest will be used by the Pakistani navy. However, the foundation is awaiting input from the government and military on where and how best to use the boats.

"We are working with the Pakistan navy and in co-ordination with the National Disaster Management Authority. The boats will be deputed once we receive input from all these organisations," said Mr Razwani.