Abu Dhabi: More than 100,000 Nepalese citizens in the UAE may have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Prakash Koirala, President of the Non-resident Nepalese Association in the UAE.
Most of these worked in hospitality, security, supermarkets and transport sectors, he told Gulf News.
So far, 30,000 Nepalese registered with their missions in the UAE to go back Nepal and it’s arranging flights to send them back home, he said.
“Hospitality, security and transportation sectors particularly taxis, businesses were heavily hampered and left thousands of Nepalese jobless as a large chunk of Nepalese work in these sectors in the UAE,” said Koirala.
“It’s estimated that more than 100,000 Nepalese lost their jobs including workers in hospitality, security, supermarkets, taxi drivers, domestic helps and visitors,” he added.
When visitor’s arrival stopped, the hospitality and security sectors had sacked many Nepalese who were employed there. So, those who received their pay in February, remitted about 70 per cent and kept 30 per cent for their expenses, he said.
With that money they survived March comfortably but when they didn’t get their pay in March, they suffered lot in April, Koirala said.
“However, we formed a team to help our brothers in the UAE and other community people as well. We distributed lots of meal packets and sanitisers.”
In my estimation, out of 400,000 Nepalese who reside in the UAE, about 100,000 were rendered jobless,” he said.
“In order to ward off problems of our community people who didn’t have access to daily meals, we distributed more than 60 tonnes of food among 7,000 Nepalese,” the community head said.
The meal packets, we supplied to them were generally sufficient for 15 days. It included raw edible materials for daily consumption, he said.
So far, more than 2,000 Nepalese were sent back home since June 19, when first flight took people to Nepal from the UAE. These flights also included sick people, domestic helps and visitors, he said.
Initially those who had emergency situations, were the first who were prioritised to go back home.
The community has also requested the Nepalese government to increase the number of special repatriation flights to send stranded people back home.
About 12 to 13 flights departed from the UAE to Nepal so far, including national carrier of Nepal and Fly Dubai, Koirala said.
“The community is also trying to arrange some chartered flights, too. Because it requires lots of approvals and procedures to follow, we couldn’t have done it yet but we are in the process of it,” he said.
“We also communicated with companies to resolve the workers’ issues. They responded positively and helped our people to get their rights clearing their dues and provided air tickets as well to travel back home,” Koirala said.
“A group of Nepalese community people in the UAE have been working in coordination with the embassy to facilitate them,” he said.
He said the embassy provided all kinds of support to reach to the community people who are in need in this challenging time.