Officials from UAE and Houston discuss hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.

Yousef Mana’a Saeed Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States of America, has met with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, local officials and other community leaders to discuss Hurricane Harvey’s impact and learn more about the local recovery effort, including specific needs.

Last year, the UAE government announced a US$10 million grant to support rebuilding and recovery efforts in Texas, after Hurricane Harvey devastated the state with torrential rain and historic flooding. While large portions of the state were impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the City of Houston was hit particularly hard. At the peak of flooding, one-third of Houston was under water, and 75 of the city’s 275 schools were closed due to water damage.

Given the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, Ambassador Al Otaiba and UAE Embassy officials are coordinating with local leaders to fully understand the broad needs of Houston’s recovery efforts.

“We are committed to helping Houston recover and rebuild after Hurricane Harvey,” said Al Otaiba. “We want to support our friends in the ways they need it most, and today’s discussions will ensure we do just that.”

During his trip to Houston, Ambassador Al Otaiba joined other senior leaders from the UAE to celebrate the official opening of the UAE Consulate in Houston.

He participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony with Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Industry, UAE Consul-General in Houston Saeed Al Mehairi and Houston City Council Member Amanda Edwards.

Following the ribbon cutting, the officials spoke at a reception hosted in collaboration with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre, to celebrate the Consulate opening and highlight the partnership between the UAE and Houston.

The UAE and MD Anderson have a longstanding relationship, and hundreds of Emirati patients receive treatment at MD Anderson each year. In 2011, the UAE’s Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation announced a $150 million grant to MD Anderson to support the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Building for Personalised Cancer Care. The building was dedicated in April 2016.

“The UAE has deep and strong ties in this community,” said Consul-General Al Mehairi. “The Consulate in Houston is a testament to our commitment to Houston and the local community.”

The UAE Consulate in Houston provides support services to UAE nationals residing in the greater Houston area and works to expand business relationships and cultural exchanges between the UAE and Texas.