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A friend in need is a friend indeed.

Gaza Strip Wherever you go in the besieged coastal territory, you will notice a project done by the UAE. Whether it's in a refugee camp, a city or even on the borders of the Gaza Strip, Palestinians truly appreciate the UAE and its efforts in supporting them.

"We are grateful for the generosity of the [UAE] and its leader for what they have done over the years and kept on doing to support our people," Mohammad Shaye'e, a Gaza municipality manager, said.

"[The] UAE is one of the biggest donors of the people in Gaza. The leaders and [their] people donated millions of dollars through the years to cover huge projects and provided endless support for our people."

UAE donations in the Gaza strip covered all fields and areas -- be it housing, medicine, education scholarships, treatment, etc -- and reached most of the needy in the Gaza Strip.

The Shaikh Zayed City in Gaza is considered to be one of the best examples of the efforts being put in UAE in helping the Palestinian people. This huge project was authorised by the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The 736 homes in the city were built in February 2005 on the instructions of Shaikh Zayed to house about 25,000 residents who lost their homes during the Al Aqsa Intifada. The cost of the project stood at Dh228 million ($62 million).

Mohammad Al Ahdal, who lives with wife and five children in Shaikh Zayed City, said: "Our house was destroyed in one of the Israeli offensives during the second intifada. If it wasn't for this project I don't know where we would have ended up due to the lack of apartments in Gaza Strip."

Lack of materials

According to the Municipality of Gaza, the UAE even offered to finance the construction of hundreds of other homes in Gaza for Palestinians who lost their homes in the Israeli bombardment. However, the lack of the building materials is preventing that.

Emmad Al Haddad, the director of Human Appeal International (HAI), a UAE humanitarian organisation, said: "The emirate donations focus on implementing projects that fulfil the immediate needs of the people in Gaza strip."

The HAI project covers many projects in different fields such as medical and handicap, educational, and emergency, social and development programmes and orphan sponsorship.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Dec 2, 2011
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