New Jersey schools hit hard by Hurricane Sandy will get a $4.5 million boost from halfway around the world thanks to a contribution from the United Arab Emirates that was announced Monday.
The generous gift will go to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, a charity that was founded by Gov. Chris Christie's wife, Mary Pat, to help rebuild after last October's superstorm, reported the New Tribune
UAE Ambassador Yousef al Otaiba joined the Christies to announce the gift at Highlands Elementary school, one of 30 schools that will share the aid.
"This is something that's in our DNA," al Otaiba said in an interview with the Associated Press. "When a country faces an emergency or a disaster, we want to respond to what their needs are."
He said the gift was made on behalf of the UAE's citizens.
Al Otaiba said the UAE has donated $2.8 billion to disaster relief in 28 nations, including contributions to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina and the Joplin, Mo., tornadoes.
The gift to the New Jersey Relief Fund will be targeted at repairing computer and technological equipment in the schools damaged by Sandy.
"The kids who will benefit from this for years to come will have their friends in the UAE to thank for it," Chris Christie said.
The relief fund is intended to help people with needs not covered by government aid or insurance. About $38 million has so far been donated to the fund, including a $1 million donation from rocker Jon Bon Jovi last week.
New York and New Jersey were both hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, which is the second most costly natural disaster in the nation's history, totaling $68 billion in losses. Only Hurricane Katrina was more devastating.
The UAE has pledged to also help New York's rebuilding effort.
"Everyone is your friend when things are going well," al Otaiba said. "But you really find out your friends in crisis."
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