Dubai: UAE-based couple Chiara Maioni and Mark Hill finally reached Dubai from Cape Town on Thursday to be reunited with their two-year-old baby Skye Mia Maioni Hill after more than a month of separation due to travel restrictions amid COVID-19.
The couple’s plight came to light on April 1 when Gulf News carried a story on them.
The couple had flown to Cape Town on March 12 for a holiday, but were stranded after flights were suspended, while their baby in Dubai was in the care of their trusted nanny and housemaid.
Thanks to the remarkable repatriation efforts of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) Dubai, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, the couple arrived in Dubai on April 22 after 41 days of staying away from their little one.
They are currently in quarantine at an isolation facility in Dubai and are waiting to meet their daughter once they complete the term.
Earlier, the couple had pleaded with authorities to speed up a possible reunion with the baby through Gulf News, following which the authorities contacted them in Cape Town.
Finally on April 21, Chiara and Mark were repatriated on an emergency humanitarian flight from Cape Town to Frankfurt and then onwards on April 22 to Dubai on an Emirates emergency repatriation flight.
The couple are overwhelmed with joy and relief and have thanked the UAE authorities as well as the Italian Embassy in South Africa and the Italian Consulate in the UAE for helping them come back home to their daughter.
“We are very grateful to the UAE Government, especially to all officials at GDRFA, MOFA, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority and the UAE Embassy in South Africa. We were contacted directly by Maj-Gen Mohammad Al Marri, director of GDRFA-Dubai and MOFA officials to facilitate our return,” said Mark.
The couple thanked the Italian Embassy in South Africa and the Italian Consulate in the UAE for helping them get back with support from SA Airways and Emirates.
“The coming together of so many international agencies and governments to help us in these super difficult times have made us realise how incredibly lucky we are. The repatriation efforts of the UAE government have been outstanding and we are filled with gratitude,” he added.
Echoing similar sentiments, Chiara she was proud to call both Italy and the UAE her home and it was so wonderful that “both the countries had come forward to help her to reunite with her child.”
The couple cannot wait to meet Skye.
“Now from our isolation facility, we can almost see our home and can’t wait to hold her in her arms,” said Mark.