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Air India Express Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: As repatriation flights operate in full swing to fly back Indians, there are many contenders for seats in the community, with what they claim are pressing concerns.

Among them is a mother whose 10-month-old daughter is in India and is constantly pursuing with the Indian missions in the UAE to get repatriated.

Speaking to Gulf News, she said, “My husband and I both lost jobs in the last week of March. We have limited resources. We have to pay Dh2,500 for rent alone, but we don’t have any money.”

She said, “My husband was in tours and travels, so after travel restrictions, he lost his job due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“The company told my husband to go back to India and come back when the situation normalises. I travelled to the UAE leaving my daughter, just 10 months old, with my mother, as I got a job, but when I came here, the job was gone,” she said, adding “All our dreams have been shattered by the pandemic.”

Somappa Poojari, a tailor from Karnataka, also lost his job two months ago. He said, “I don’t have any job as businesses are shut due to lack of work, so the owner asked me to go home.”

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Somappa Poojari Image Credit: Supplied

“My two children and 80-year-old mother are back home and I am the only person to support them but I couldn’t send any money to them over the past two months. Every month, I used to remit Dh1,000 to India,” Poojari, who has worked in Musaffah for four years, said.

“Now my own room rent and meal expenses are difficult to manage in the absence of job,” he said. “I just want to go back home.”

Another worker, Alakunta Suresh, 23, is also in the same boat. “I don’t have money to feed myself and pay room rent but am being helped by the India Social and Cultural Centre staff.”

“I approached the centre, which provided me food and a month’s room rent,” he said.

He wants to go back to Hyderabad in India.

Having registered with the Indian Embassy, people like Suresh, Poojari and the young mother are waiting to get a call. Special repatriation flights to India began on May 7. Ever since, the he Indian missions in the UAE have been giving priority to Indian nationals with medical emergencies, pregnant women, people who have lost jobs and overstaying visitors and students.