India will not accept foreign aid for flood-hit Kerala

India will not accept donations from foreign countries for flood-affected Kerala, the external affairs ministry (pictured) said a day after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) offered $700 million to help rebuild the state.

However, private contributions from Indian expatriates all over the world will be accepted.

It has been India’s unwritten policy since 2004, when the country was hit by tsunami, not to seek bilateral financial aid from other countries during disasters. When the northern state of Uttarakhand was struck by severe floods in 2013, India declined the US offer of $150,000 aid.

Instead of taking aid, India has been financially helping other countries hit by natural disasters over the past decade.

The policy of declining foreign aid was formulated by a Congress-led government and the present BJP-led government may be following the same policy which proudly tells the world that India is a self-reliant nation which can address its own woes.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday offered $100 million forwards Kerala flood relief. But hours after the announcement, questions were raised in local media on the propriety of accepting it. It was cited that both after the 2004 tsunami and the Uttarakhand floods, India had declined offers of financial aid from foreign countries.

Responding to the federal government’s decision to decline $100 million aid from UAE towards Kerala flood relief, a former Indian ambassador told one local TV station that while federal policies have to respected, they can be changed under extraordinary situations like the unprecedented Kerala flood, the worst to hit the state in almost a century.

So far, the federal government has sent $86 million as emergency aid to Kerala plus 50,000 tonnes of rice and wheat, besides medicines.

The military and para-military forces have also saved thousands of people marooned in interior regions by airlifting them or carrying them in boats.

On Monday, the home ministry declared Kerala floods as ‘a calamity of severe nature’ after considering its intensity and magnitude.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised further aid to help rebuild Kerala which has suffered a loss of $8.4 billion due to floods.