UAE starts drive to provide drinking water to 5 mn people

AFP
An Afghan child carries water from a well in Kabul on April 22, 2013
An Afghan child carries water from a well in Kabul on April 22, 2013 (AFP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

Dubai (AFP) - The United Arab Emirates has launched a fundraising campaign to provide potable water to five million people facing shortages in Asia and Africa, local press said on Sunday.

The campaign that began on Saturday has already collected 33.5 million dirhams ($9.1 million, 6.7 million euros), mostly from top companies, and the government called for more donations before it ends on July 17.

The drive was timed to start with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, a period favoured by believers to pay alms.

The UAE Red Crescent has already started work on boring wells in 10 countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Niger, Somalia, Ghana, Sudan, Indonesia, Togo and Iraq, the Khaleej Times daily said.

The oil-rich UAE donated 1.014 billion dirhams between 2009 and 2013 in aid to solve water problems in 61 countries, according to official statistics.