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Comment Helping Syrians will require a global response

ABU DHABI // They asked you to open your hearts and open your wallets – and your response was magnificent.

* Anwar Ahmad

A three-day fundraising telethon drive on Abu Dhabi TV ended on Saturday with more than Dh120 million raised to help thousands displaced by Syria’s civil war to survive a freezing winter in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.

There was a further boost when Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, ordered Dh15.5m worth of heavy equipment to be delivered to Jordan to clear away the heavy snow and ice that has been hampering the distribution of vital humanitarian aid.

The scale of the task confronting aid agencies was brought tragically home during Saturday’s telethon. As cash donations poured in, viewers learnt that their generosity had come too late for a two-year-old child in a camp in Jordan set up by the UAE.

“The killer snow storms led to the death of a child in the camp,” Ahmed Al Yamahi reported from the camp, which provides shelter for about 4,000 refugees.

Children, mothers and the elderly were crying and fighting for their survival amid severe weather conditions, Al Yamahi said.

Syed Mustafa, Syrian refugee affairs manager in Jordan, said: “There are 10,000 refugees in different parts of Jordan and they are going through tough times as the weather here is fatal.”

The telethon broadcast live footage of the living conditions of Syrian refugees, some of whom told of their suffering and fight for survival as winter storms battered their makeshift homes.

One refugee, Hazim Al Habiah, told Abu Dhabi TV: “We have lost everything. I don’t have home, work, food and nothing to lead a life. Everything has gone.

“Children are fighting the cold as temperatures drop below zero here. The situation here is very, very bad and further deteriorating.”

A woman, Syedah Sharifah, said: “I have five children and live here in the Emirati camp. My children demand different things to eat and wear and I satisfy them somehow.

“There are no proper things to support life for our children. We need food, medicines and clothing to protect ourselves from the cold.”

She thanked Sheikh Khalifa, the President and the people of the UAE for helping them and supplying food and medicines.

Emaa, a five-year-old girl in the refugee camp, said: “I feel cold during the night and my sister is not able to sleep due to cold and hunger.”

Another little girl, Rahaf, 6, said: “We need help and we don’t have access to food and water and life is very difficult here.”

Alaa, a boy of about 10, said, “I thank the Emirates for their help and thank the government of Jordan too.”

An elderly man from the camp said: “We don’t have food, water to drink and medicine. We need all kind of assistance. All thanks to the Emirates, as we are brothers, they are doing so much for us.”

To cope with the flood of donations, Abu Dhabi TV extended the telethon until 6pm, two hours after its scheduled close.

The funds have been raised as part of the Emirates Red Crescent’s “Our Hearts Are With the Syrian People” campaign, launched after a directive from the President, Sheikh Khalifa.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi donated Dh3m, National Investment Corporation and an anonymous donor gave Dh2m each, Abdur Rehman Al Awais Dh2m, Sharjah Islamic Bank Dh1m, Ahmed Siddique and Sons Dh1m, Saif bin Darwesh Company Dh1m, Dubai Charity Association Dh1m, Sheikh Mohammed bin Nasir Al Hajiri Dh1m, Sheikha Alya bint Khalifa Al Maktoum Dh1m, Fujairah Welfare Association Dh1m, Ali Khalfan Al Dhahiri and Sons Dh1m and Awqaf Dh1m.

Habib Al Sayegh, adviser on editorial affairs at the Sharjah publishers Dar Al Khaleej, said during the telethon: “About 15,000 doctors have left Syria since the crisis started two years back. So the country is in dire need of doctors as many people there are dying of cold due to harsh weather now.”

More than 2.3 million Syrians have been forced out of their homes since the civil war broke out on March 2011. About 800,000 refugees are in Lebanon, with 569,000 in Jordan, 553,000 in Turkey and 209,460 in Iraq.

About 5,000 people flee Syria every day.

Abu Dhabi TV is owned by Abu Dhabi Media, publishers of The National.

anwar@thenational.ae

■ UAE has clothing drive for Syrian refugees
■ Dh66 million raised for Syrian refugees
■ Dh18.1m raised in first day of Syrian refugee charity campaign
■ Friday sermon: Help the Syrian refugees

Topic

Charity
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed
Syria unrest

Donation timeline

First day (Thursday) Dh18.1 million

Second day (Friday) Dh66m

Third day (yesterday)

2.40pm more than Dh84m

3.30pm more than Dh85m

4.30pm more than Dh88m

5.27pm more than Dh90m

5.45pm more than Dh106m

Final more than Dh120m

* Anwar Ahmad

A three-day fundraising telethon drive on Abu Dhabi TV ended on Saturday with more than Dh120 million raised to help thousands displaced by Syria’s civil war to survive a freezing winter in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.

There was a further boost when Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, ordered Dh15.5m worth of heavy equipment to be delivered to Jordan to clear away the heavy snow and ice that has been hampering the distribution of vital humanitarian aid.

The scale of the task confronting aid agencies was brought tragically home during Saturday’s telethon. As cash donations poured in, viewers learnt that their generosity had come too late for a two-year-old child in a camp in Jordan set up by the UAE.

“The killer snow storms led to the death of a child in the camp,” Ahmed Al Yamahi reported from the camp, which provides shelter for about 4,000 refugees.

Children, mothers and the elderly were crying and fighting for their survival amid severe weather conditions, Al Yamahi said.

Syed Mustafa, Syrian refugee affairs manager in Jordan, said: “There are 10,000 refugees in different parts of Jordan and they are going through tough times as the weather here is fatal.”

The telethon broadcast live footage of the living conditions of Syrian refugees, some of whom told of their suffering and fight for survival as winter storms battered their makeshift homes.

One refugee, Hazim Al Habiah, told Abu Dhabi TV: “We have lost everything. I don’t have home, work, food and nothing to lead a life. Everything has gone.

“Children are fighting the cold as temperatures drop below zero here. The situation here is very, very bad and further deteriorating.”

A woman, Syedah Sharifah, said: “I have five children and live here in the Emirati camp. My children demand different things to eat and wear and I satisfy them somehow.

“There are no proper things to support life for our children. We need food, medicines and clothing to protect ourselves from the cold.”

She thanked Sheikh Khalifa, the President and the people of the UAE for helping them and supplying food and medicines.

Emaa, a five-year-old girl in the refugee camp, said: “I feel cold during the night and my sister is not able to sleep due to cold and hunger.”

Another little girl, Rahaf, 6, said: “We need help and we don’t have access to food and water and life is very difficult here.”

Alaa, a boy of about 10, said, “I thank the Emirates for their help and thank the government of Jordan too.”

An elderly man from the camp said: “We don’t have food, water to drink and medicine. We need all kind of assistance. All thanks to the Emirates, as we are brothers, they are doing so much for us.”

To cope with the flood of donations, Abu Dhabi TV extended the telethon until 6pm, two hours after its scheduled close.

The funds have been raised as part of the Emirates Red Crescent’s “Our Hearts Are With the Syrian People” campaign, launched after a directive from the President, Sheikh Khalifa.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi donated Dh3m, National Investment Corporation and an anonymous donor gave Dh2m each, Abdur Rehman Al Awais Dh2m, Sharjah Islamic Bank Dh1m, Ahmed Siddique and Sons Dh1m, Saif bin Darwesh Company Dh1m, Dubai Charity Association Dh1m, Sheikh Mohammed bin Nasir Al Hajiri Dh1m, Sheikha Alya bint Khalifa Al Maktoum Dh1m, Fujairah Welfare Association Dh1m, Ali Khalfan Al Dhahiri and Sons Dh1m and Awqaf Dh1m.

Habib Al Sayegh, adviser on editorial affairs at the Sharjah publishers Dar Al Khaleej, said during the telethon: “About 15,000 doctors have left Syria since the crisis started two years back. So the country is in dire need of doctors as many people there are dying of cold due to harsh weather now.”

More than 2.3 million Syrians have been forced out of their homes since the civil war broke out on March 2011. About 800,000 refugees are in Lebanon, with 569,000 in Jordan, 553,000 in Turkey and 209,460 in Iraq.

About 5,000 people flee Syria every day.

Abu Dhabi TV is owned by Abu Dhabi Media, publishers of The National.

anwar@thenational.ae

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/heritage/aid-appeal-for-syrian-refugees-on-abu-dhabi-tv-hits-dh120m?utm_source=Communicator&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=&utm_campaign=%5b%5bADMC_THENATIONAL_LT.ADMC_THENATIONAL_LT.LATEST_NEWS_SUBJECT%3a%3a%7b1%7d%3f%3fThe+National+Newsletter%5d%5d#ixzz2oH3EZjke
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