Coronavirus Pandemic

192 residents stranded at UAE airports fly back home

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on August 19, 2020 | Last updated on August 19, 2020 at 06.19 am
192 residents, stranded, UAE airports, fly back home,

(Alamy Image)

According to Bangladesh Ambassador to the UAE, Mohammed Abu Zafar, a majority of the passengers returned on Monday and the rest flew back on Tuesday morning.

At least 127 Bangladeshis and 65 Indians stranded at the UAE airports have flown back home, diplomats told Khaleej Times on Tuesday.

They had flown to the UAE after the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said a pre-travel approval from the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship (ICA) was not required for residents to return.

According to Bangladesh Ambassador to the UAE, Mohammed Abu Zafar, a majority of the passengers returned on Monday and the rest flew back on Tuesday morning.

"Two flights - Air Arabia and Biman Airlines - carrying approximately 400 passengers landed at the Abu Dhabi International Airport late Friday. Of these, 127 were not allowed to exit the airport," said the ambassador.

He said it has come to his notice that a few more passengers were left stranded early Tuesday morning. The mission is working with the local authorities to help them return to Dhaka.

Neeraj Agarwal, consul - press, information and culture, said at least 43 Indians on an Indigo Airlines flight and 18 passengers on an Air Arabia one from Lucknow were left stranded in Sharjah. "All stranded passengers have flown back," said Agarwal.

As Khaleej Times reported on Monday, at least five Indians were left stranded in Abu Dhabi, including Babu Parappurath, an expatriate from Kerala. A firefighter at an Abu Dhabi government company, Parappurath said he travelled to India on March 9 and got stranded due to coronavirus-triggered travel restrictions. Only one of the five was able to exit the airport and the rest had to fly back.

'They were supposed to resume work'

Lasith Kayakkal, co-owner of Deena Furniture in Sharjah, said two of his employees were among the 18 who were stranded at the Sharjah airport. "They returned yesterday evening (Monday) at 4pm after being at the airport since 11.30pm on Sunday. My employees are needed back at work, and they had to travel long distances and spend hundreds on Covid-19 tests to come back."

Kayakkal said they had received a 'red' ICA notice that advised them to travel at a later date. "We were told that they did not need pre-travel approvals. We don't know what to do next."


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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