India rejects UAE govt's $100 million flood disaster fund offer

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"It is only natural for nations to help each other", said Kerala's top elected official, Pinyari Vijayan, as residents waded into the vast cleanup effort after floods killed more than 200 people and drove more than 800,000 into relief shelters.

"On Tuesday, the ambassador of Thailand in India Chutintorn Gongsakdi had tweeted that he had been "Informally informed with regret that GOI is not accepting overseas donations for Kerala flood relief".

Almost 14.50 lakh people from 3.91 lakh families are still in about 3,879 relief camps across the state.

Taking note of the Kerala floods, in which thousands of people have not only lost property worth crores but have also been rendered homeless, the High Court judges have observed that herculean efforts are required to be taken for rehabilitation, reconstruction and restoration of infrastructure.

It is also noteworthy that while the government refuses foreign financial assistance, it does not bar many foreign NGOs, other groups and individuals from contributing money and offering other help to private agencies in India, provided they follow and respect the government guidelines.

Experts say the policy to refuse global funds, put in place following the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, is meant to show that India is capable of dealing with natural disasters.

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Local officials estimate the floods caused $3bn of damage, with about 10,000km of Kerala's roads and more than 100,000 houses needing to be reconstructed. The government later accepted financial assistance but the policy had been reversed. Before this, India used to accept aid from the worldwide community in the wake of a big natural calamity.

Citing NDMP's provision of accepting aid given by a foreign government during severe calamity, Isaac said the Centre has still chosen to adopt a negative stance towards the UAE offer. However, if the national government of another country voluntarily offers assistance as a goodwill gesture in solidarity with the disaster victims, the Central Government may accept the offer. But India has politely turned down the offer from all three countries. And by no stretch of imagination can anyone attribute sinister designs or diabolical motives to UAE's Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in making a telephone call to Modi, offering assistance.

"We are really happy that I and my friends rescued several people".

The decision to refuse financial aid from outside evolved at a time when India was offering itself as an attractive market and investment destination to foreign investors.

However, the Central Water Commission has since initiated the process for preparing inundation maps and completed them for at least 12 dams in Kerala, a chief engineer in the state said. But it was graceful enough to take help even from many poor countries which were usually at the receiving end of American aid. According to initial reports, the flood-hit state has suffered a loss of over Rs 20,000 crore. Acceptance of aid can in no way make India look like a poor country or a weakling. "It's natural for countries to help each other during a crisis".

This should be noted that the New Delhi government has earlier infuriated the Kerala administration by rejecting the cash offer from the wealthy Gulf state.

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