Flood-stricken Kerala angry after India rejects UAE’s offer of $100M aid

Flood-stricken Kerala angry after India rejects UAE’s offer of $100M aid

Flood-stricken Kerala angry after India rejects UAE’s offer of $100M aid

India on Wednesday rejected an offer by the United Arab Emirates government to give $100 million to the disaster relief fund for flood-stricken Kerala state.

Much of this had evolved from its self image, growing confidence over its own capacity as well as its rising clout at the worldwide stage as an emerging global power.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan had telephoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and made the offer of assistance, the Chief Minister had said earlier.

"The Disaster Management Policy of India permits foreign governments voluntarily donating funds, and says that the central government can accept the funds". Contributions to PM Relief Fund & CM Relief Fund from NRIs, PIOs and worldwide entities such as foundations would, however, be welcome'. "I don't know why they should deny some other government's help", Issac told NDTV news channel. So far, 357 people have lost their lives due to the floods.

According to India's central government health index, Kerala has the best performing public health system of any state in the country. The government's decision undoubtedly has given rise to a fresh bout of debate on whether India should have refused the money.

"The Government of India deeply appreciates offers from several countries, including from foreign governments, to assist in relief and rehabilitation efforts after the tragic floods", the MEA said in a late night statement. "Though the Union government has extended all help to rebuild the state, the state government is trying to flare up anti-Centre sentiments", he said. They cited the National Disaster Management Plan's chapter 9, which deals with global cooperation.

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Until the 2004 tsunami, the Indian government had accepted financial assistance from foreign governments during the Uttarkashi natural disaster (1991), Latur quake (1993), Gujarat quake (2001), Bengal cyclone (2002) and even the Bihar floods (July 2004).

The floods have also hit tourism sector in India's tourist hotspot otherwise known for its pristine beaches and backwaters. This foreign aid, adding up to around Rs 740 crore, could certainly go a long way in helping Kerala, and the state is making no bones about it.

The assistance will be subject to existing norms and procedures, the report added. The government reiterates that India is capable of facing contingencies on its own and that relief and rebuilding will be undertaken with its own funds. Apart from major financial assistance from countries like Japan, India chose to do away with numerous foreign funds that were being offered by others.

The government made the comments after the hashtag LetKeralaLive began trending on social media amid demands that the Modi dispensation compensate for the aid it was rejecting.

Experts said Indian governments want to prove they can handle any emergency by themselves.

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