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Combating coronavirus: Dubai Police come to the rescue of jobless and 'homeless' expats

Karen Ann Monsy and Anjana Sankar/Dubai
Filed on June 3, 2020 | Last updated on June 3, 2020 at 06.16 am
Dubai Police, come, rescue, jobless, homeless expats

(Alamy Image)

A police official told Khaleej Times that the expats have been moved to an air-conditioned accommodation where they can stay until they can fly back home.

The Dubai Police have come to the rescue of a group of Ghanian expats who were reportedly living in a park in Satwa after losing their jobs due to Covid-19.

A police official told Khaleej Times that the expats have been moved to an air-conditioned accommodation where they can stay until they can fly back home.

"We got a call regarding the situation and wanted to help them as they are without jobs and on visit visas," the official said. "After we were alerted of their situation, we transported about 40 or 50 of them to an accommodation where they could sleep."

They have now been moved to makeshift air-conditioned tents near Jebel Ali. "We are in touch with their mission regarding their repatriation process," he added.

The police's generous gesture comes on the heels of others in the UAE community who came together to support the expats after learning their plight, including a local food stylist who had been cooking for them and a Facebook volunteer group that had been helping out with supplying the expats with essentials.

One of the expats, Moses, said 41 of them have been moved to the accommodation in Jebel Ali. "We never thought that we'd receive assistance in this way. We have been living entirely on the mercy of other people," he said.

The group, which includes pregnant women, has sought consular assistance to return home. Referring to the park where they were staying, Moses said: "It was where we could meet our brothers and sisters, share jokes, speak our own dialect. When you see your own brothers, it gives you some courage and strength - better than walking the streets on your own.

"Our main requirement now is to go back to Ghana. This is our main concern. We do not have the money to go back."

Moses added that he's grateful for the support the community has shown till now. "We have been shown a level of humanitarianism more than we expected. We are very thankful."

Hawa Idris has lived in the UAE for two years, but when the pandemic began, she found herself out of work and home.

She said: "We are pleading and asking everybody for help. We have no money, nothing."

Hawa is appreciative of community members who are helping them with food and water, but added: "What we need now is to go home. They are telling us it will cost us Dh3,000 for a single ticket and we cannot afford that. It is too much for us."

A representative for Dubai-based NGO Valley of Love said the organisation is currently exploring both immediate and long-term solutions to assist the Ghanaians.

"Currently, there are no flights available to Ghana," said Joseph Bobby, vice-president of the organisation, who added that while Emirates has flights tentatively scheduled for July, they are only "speculative" at the moment.

Joseph, who visited the expats at their new temporary shelter, lauded the police's efforts. The expats are also being provided with food and groceries.

Evacuation likely by mid-June: Embassy

Ghanaian missions in the UAE said the evacuation of stranded expats would be possible by mid-June.

"We have been working with Ghana and the UAE authorities in collaboration with Emirates airline to evacuate our stranded nationals and, hopefully, it would be possible by mid-June," the Ghanaian Embassy in the UAE said in a statement.

The mission said over 450 Ghanaians have registered to be evacuated, including those people who stayed at the park.

"The said Ghanaians first reported at the Ghanaian consulate in the evening of May 25, and were addressed by the consul-general in the morning of May 26.

"The consul-general requested them to return to their accommodation while the consulate finalises ongoing arrangements for their evacuation, to which they agreed. However, a section of them decided they would no longer return to Ajman where they lived and rather went to camp at the park.

"The first group that visited the consulate on May 25 comprised of nine people while on the next day, there were 34 people at the consulate. It is true that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most Ghanaians lost their jobs just like other nationals and expressed the desire to return to Ghana."

karen@khaleejtimes.com 


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