A stir has erupted between Kerala government and Centre over not accepting UAE’s Rs 700 crore financial relief aid. Now, a UAE Ambassador has reportedly said that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had not made any official announcement so far over any specific amount as financial aid.

In an interview to Indian Express, Ambassador Ahmed Albanna said that since the assessment of the relief operations in Kerala was still underway, the amount announced cannot be considered as final. He told the daily, “The assessment of relief needed for the flood and aftermath is ongoing. Announcing any specific amount as financial aid, I don’t think it is final since it is still ongoing.” When asked if he meant that the UAE had not announced Rs 700 crore in aid, he said, “Yes, that is correct. It is not yet final. It has not been announced.”

Earlier, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that treating UAE as “any other country” is not justified and that the Middle East nation is like a “second country” for the people of Kerala. Pinarayi Vijayan had said this amid reports that the Centre had turned down aid offers from foreign governments in the wake of the flood disaster.

While talking to the leading daily, Ambassador Albanna said, “All that has happened is that UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has formed a national emergency committee. The main goal was to look into sourcing out funds, aid material, medicines and other things for our friendly people and friends in Kerala, who have been hit by the unfortunate flood.”

The Ambassador added, “The committee is coordinating with the federal authorities since we know and understand the financial aid rules in India. And, it is also coordinating with the local authorities for immediate aid in terms of relief and food material.” He further said that the committee was working through several organisations such as Red Crescent in UAE and other such groups based in Kerala and other parts of India.

A few days ago, Raveesh Kumar, Official Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on August 22 said that there would be no change in existing policy in regard to foreign aids. MEA spokesperson said, “The government of India deeply appreciates offers from several countries to assist in relief and rehabilitation efforts after the tragic floods. In line with the existing policy, the government is committed to meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts.”

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