DUBAI, 12 August 2006: Launching an aggressive charity drive from the initial days of the recent war on Lebanon, the Emirati Lebanese Friendship Association (ELFA) has raised substantial aid in cash and kind for those affected by the hostilities.
Launched under the special directives of UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ELFA has so far distributed nearly 300 tonnes of relief material in Beirut, with a further 200 tonnes awaiting shipment.
Commenting on the response to the ELFA initiative, Mohammed Al Gergawi, CEO, Dubai Holding said: "It is touching to see people of different nationalities come together so unanimously for a common cause. We would like to thank all those who contributed to ELFA's humanitarian call to help the severely affected lives of the Lebanon people."
Al Gergawi added: "The crisis has not only devastated the lives of the Lebanon people, including innocent children, even the basic civic amenities are damaged and denied to them.
"Our efforts are ongoing, and we will spare no effort to ensure appropriate distribution of relief materials to the war torn casualties."
Towards the charity drive, the Emirati Lebanese Friendship Association set up an operation centre at the American University Dubai. Simultaneously, a distribution centre was established in Beirut to co-ordinate the effective delivery of relief materials among those deserving of urgent aid.
"Responses to the relief campaign, which was conveyed to the public through the media in the UAE and by word of mouth, has been overwhelming.
"We are especially proud of the 50 American University of Dubai students who have volunteered to go to Lebanon to support ELFA's work in Beirut," said Joseph Ghossoub, CEO, The Holding Group.
Conducted over 20 days, the charity campaign saw the involvement of over 100 volunteers who diligently sorted, packed, labelled and loaded the material for shipment by air to Lebanon via the Damascus International Airport.
"From Damascus, the materials were carried by trucks to the Lebanese border to be unloaded again into smaller trucks for safety and security reasons," said Elias Bou Saab, ELFA Co-ordinator. "The aid items were transported to the ELFA Centre in Beirut after a trip of over nine hours through mountainous roads."
ELFA, whose relief efforts are ongoing, also participated in the live telethon 'Towards Healing Lebanon's Wounds' sponsored by the Arab Media Group (AMG). The live campaign initiated by Dubai Media Incorporated generated nearly AED 60 million towards the Lebanon Relief Fund.
ELFA's relief work is organized in association with the UAE Red Crescent Society, and Sheikh Mohammed in Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Foundation.