Dubai: Stranded in London, a grieving widow is pleading with UAE authorities to help her fly back so that she can mourn her loss with her teenaged daughter, currently on her own in Dubai and struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.
Sabeena Dhalla’s husband Inayat Ali Dhalla, a long-time UAE resident, was on a business trip to his homecountry Tanzania when he contracted coronavirus while stuck in Dar es Salaam due to COVID-19 flight restrictions. He died in the early hours of April 24, a little over two weeks before his 47th birthday.
Sabeena, originally from India, was visiting her ailing mum in England when Ali left for Tanzania. Hoping to return within two days, he left his daughter Hadiya, 17, in the family’s Al Ghusais apartment with their maid.
“My whole world has caved in. I am devastated. We were planning to celebrate our 25th anniversary later this month. Why did he have to leave us so soon? My heart goes to my daughter who’s completely shattered and has no family to comfort or console her,” an inconsolable Sabeena said over the phone from Leicester, in England’s East Midlands region.
“Sabeena said he loved her deeply and pampered her with gifts. “He send a big bouquet on my birthday last month. Just a few days ago we held a video chat during which he showed me the abayas, designer suits, hand bags jewellery he had bought for me,” recalled Sabeena who was due to return to the UAE before Ramadan.
“The last time he spoke to me he asked me if we would meet again. “Perhaps he had an inkling,” she added.
Sabeena said her husband was diabetic and fell ill unexpectedly in mid-April. Our eldest son Mujtaba who works as a pilot in Tanzania rushed him to Aga Khan Hospital where he was tested positive for coronavirus,” she said.
Mujtaba said his father’s condition deteriorated rapidly.
“They put him on a ventilator but he couldn’t survive and died following a cardiac arrest,” Mujtaba told Gulf News from Tanzania.
Hadiya said she is numb with disbelief. “Being alone exacerbates the pain. At a time when our family ought to have been together and share our sorrows, my mum is stuck in England, my brother is in Tanzania while I am all by myself in the UAE.”
Sabeena said she desperately wants to be reunited with her son and daughter. “Our family has been torn apart. I urge UAE authorities to consider our request on humanitarian grounds and fly me and my son back to the UAE. None of us could attend the funeral. I need to get back to my daughter who is going through unspeakable trauma. There are repatriation flights going to Dubai from the UK. I need permission to get onboard any of these flights,” she said.