Kerala wants centre to accept foreign aid

CM Pinarayi offers solace allays fears in relief camps

As Kerala witnessed its worst floods since 1924, 21-year-old Hanan Hamid, who was trolled for selling fish outside her college, has donated ₹1.5 lakh towards the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF).

India's refusal to accept foreign aid for relief work in flood-battered Kerala has touched a raw nerve, with leaders of political parties in the state pressing the Centre to review the decision.

According to government sources quoted by The Indian Express, said that the tsunami was a "watershed moment" of India's foreign aid policy and since then, the subsequent governments have been systematically declining foreign financial assistance. Contributions to PM Relief Fund & CM Relief Fund from NRIs, PIOs and worldwide entities such as foundations would, however, be welcome'.

The main opposition Congress party accused Mr Modi of exacerbating the crisis by failing to come through with more aid and creating obstacles to foreign help.

"The government is open to accepting foreign aid and humanitarian assistance", an NDTV report said, citing sources.

Albana said that the Committee was coordinating with federal and local authorities in India for immediate aid in terms of relief and food material and added that the UAE was working with organisations like the Red Crescent as well.

As per the information given by Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, called up Prime Minister Modi and made this offer.




Kerala state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Centre should make changes in the convention to get Kerala assistance from foreign countries.

Late on Wednesday night, in the wake of the offers, the MEA spokesperson said India deeply appreciated offers from several countries, including from foreign governments, to assist in relief and rehabilitation efforts after the tragic floods.

"It would be ridiculous to expect the present government to suddenly reverse that policy and accept foreign aid", columnist Indrani Bagchi wrote in the Indian newspaper The Economic Times. While the United Arab Emirates has offered Dollars 100 million (around Rs 700 crore), Qatar has pledged around Rs 35 crore and Maldives has announced a donation of Dollars 50,000 (Rs 35 lakh).

The ambassador of Thailand today tweeted that he has been informally informed that India is not accepting overseas donations. The Centre and state should stand together at this time of need. The expat Indian community in the UAE - a big chunk of who have roots in Kerala - have already announced generous donations.

As Kerala is struggling to find its ground after the devastating floods, financial aid and technical assistance have been pouring in from all corners of the country as well as from the world.

"In such a situation, the responsibility of rendering help is not confined to the State".

On the estimated cost of relief operations, it said sustaining the over one million people in relief camps on a consistent basis will involve a minimum Rs 10 crore a day or Rs 300 crore a month.

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