The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been quite devastating across the world as countries enforce containment measures, which halted most economic activities.
Millions of people around the world lost their jobs. Thousands in the UAE, especially expatriates, found themselves without a job or on long leaves due to the economic slowdown. Some of these people want to go home.
We must point at the obligation of other governments to take care of their citizens especially those who want and need to go back home. They must not be abandoned
They understandably want to be with their loved ones in their home countries as the COVID-19 crisis continues unabated. But many of them remain stranded as their own governments — notably Pakistan and India — are apparently reluctant to fly them home.
Combating the outbreak
The UAE is doing a great job in combating the outbreak and caring for all those who live here, citizens and residents.
Those who have unfortunately been diagnosed with the virus are being treated in the country with the utmost care. Hundreds have recovered as a result of the advanced medical care in the UAE.
Nevertheless, many who find themselves without gainful employment during the crisis seek to go home. For some inexplicable reasons, their countries hesitate to repatriate them.
For example, more than 20,000 Pakistanis- residents who lost their jobs, tourists and visitors, registered at their consulate last week to go home, as was reported by Gulf News on 5 April.
The next day, however, the Pakistani consulate announced that it was closing its door for two weeks. Ahmed Amjad Ali, Consul General of Pakistani in Dubai, told Gulf News that the consulate staff would continue “to provide free ration to those who are in need,” such as rice, sugar, flour and cereals.
But the truth is that those 20,000 who registered with the mission didn’t want rations; they simply want to go home. The same can be said with tens of thousands of Indian expats in the UAE who remain stranded -- some lost their jobs because of the pandemic; many others came as tourists or visitors.
It was expected that their country would rush to evacuate them. But unlike may European countries which rushed to evacuate their citizens, there is no sign the Indian or Pakistani governments plan to do the same.
The UAE is the land of generosity. It will continue to help all those in need. It has extended its helping hand to many countries around the world during this crisis. And it will care for those who live here regardless of their nationality.
But we must point at the obligation of other governments to take care of their citizens especially those who want and need to go back home. They must not be abandoned.