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Rescue team from Dubai flies to tsunami-hit areas

posted on 28/12/2004: 686 views

A search and rescue team from Dubai flew last night to Indonesia as part of a delegation from the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity and Humanitarian Foundation to assist in the search and rescue operations in the areas hit by the earthquake.

The delegation was sent on the instructions of General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Minister of Defence, said Ibrahim bu Melha, Vice-Chairman of Dubai Justice Department and Vice-Chairman of the foundation's Board of Trustees.

The team will stay in Indonesia for one week. The foundation's delegation comprised 25 rescue and search personnel from Dubai Police in addition to relief officials and media persons, Abdul Rehman bin Sobeih, Director General of the foundation and head of the delegation told Khaleej Times last evening before departing on the humanitarian mission. "We will be the first foreign delegation offering relief services to the disaster hit areas in Indonesia,” Bin Sobeih commented.

He explained that the flight was not carrying any relief items, but a rescue and search team. "We received information that there is a shortage in the number of rescuers and in the rescue equipment, so we sough t the assistance of Dubai Police in providing us with the required manpower and equipment,” he said.

The main objective of the delegation is to offer search and rescue services in the first 100 hours that follow any natural disaster and then evaluating the situation to determine what items and goods are required for relief purposes. "When those requirements are specified we will purchase them from the local markets in Indonesia,” Bin Sobeih said, noting that no specific budget had yet been allocated for the rescue and relief operations to be conducted by the foundation.

The UAE based government body, Dubai Aid City (DAC), has embarked upon a strategic preparedness plan and is gearing up to facilitate aid to the areas hit by the disastrous Asian earthquake, Barbara Castek, DAC Head told Khaleej Times yesterday.

The recently launched DAC has assumed the role of facilitator for the benefit of international, regional and local humanitarian and development organisations and the people in need of aid.

DAC is working closely with the UAE Red Crescent Society to find ways of delivering the shipment of emergency supplies to the affected areas. 'This is one of the biggest global tragedies to have hit mankind and we need to take some quick disaster control actions. I urge more people to come forward and support this initiative,' Castek said.

'The focus for groups in the region has moved to the humanitarian phase, sending relief supplies and finding shelter for survivors, and not a rescue effort. Our department for emergency preparedness and emergency response is working closely with these agencies to cater to such requirements,' she added.

Dubai Aid City has set up a collection centre for donations to be made in cash or cheque at the second floor at Al Attar Business Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road. The donations will be used for providing water, new and clean clothes, blankets, tents and energy biscuits that will be sent to the affected areas by the UAE Red Crescent Society.

'Dubai UNICEF has been mobilised to support relief efforts locally and in the region, said Omar Shehadeh, from UNICEF Dubai office. "We are establishing a hub in co-operation with Dubai Aid City, which will help in facilitating our efforts to get across the emergency medical supplies to the needy. These include the US$ 1,620 'Emergency Health Supply Kit', each of which is sufficient for 50 individuals,' he added. (The Khaleej Times)


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