Video: Sharjah Police provide food, shelter to 280 homeless workers
Sharjah - The Sharjah Police and a charity rushed to their rescue after a Good Samaritan highlighted their plight on a dial-in TV programme called 'Direct Line'.
Over 280 unemployed workers who were living in an under-construction building in Sharjah have been rescued and moved to an air-conditioned accommodation.
The Sharjah Police and a charity rushed to their rescue after a Good Samaritan highlighted their plight on a dial-in TV programme called 'Direct Line'.
Community organisations said the workers - most of them from India - were staying in the partially constructed building in industrial area number three after losing their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of the workers did not have any documents.
The workers have now been moved to a police academy in Al Dhaid after directives from Major-General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Sharjah Police. The officer said the police are coordinating with the workers' embassies to either repatriate them to their home countries or regularise their visa status.
Khaleej Times spoke to some of the rescued workers, who thanked the police and community organisations for helping them.
An unemployed construction worker, Parsaram Gopu, said he was "extremely grateful to the authorities for moving us to a safe place, providing us with food and proper shelter".
Another worker, Kothea Rajushekhar, said he was happy that he is now in a location where basic safety is guaranteed. "We can take a bath now and eat properly. We really suffered after we lost our jobs due to Covid-19. The place where we were living was a half-constructed building."
Another worker, Lambadi Mohan, said most of them have nothing. "Many of us came here looking for jobs and we were terminated. I am thankful to all the officials who have been taking care of us in such difficult times and have moved us here."
E.P. Johnson, President of the Indian Association Sharjah, told Khaleej Times on Sunday that the workers have been given the option to stay at the shelter till they can fly back home.
"When we first saw the workers, they had nothing to eat or drink. But then the Sharjah Police, labour department, Indian Consulate, some charity organisations and philanthropists stepped in. The rescue drive saw 15 police vehicles, eight buses and 50 cops rush to the location," said Johnson.
The workers are being divided into two categories: Those with passports and those without. "We have arranged air tickets for several who have passports. Most of them are from Telangana," said Johnson.
"The remaining workers who don't have proper documents will be given outpass documents that are being procured with the help of Indian missions."
For now, the Indian consulate, charity and community organisations and the police are offering them food, clothing and face masks.