Dubai: Over 200 UAE expats stranded in their native India for the last seven weeks have formed a support group to appeal to be allowed back into the UAE.
All have filed Tawajudi forms with the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and await response.
Six members of the group have appealed to Gulf News to request to be allowed back on humanitarian grounds.
Here are their stories.
“My tiny tots are constantly crying out for me”
Habeeba Mohmmad, 31, had to leave four of her five children behind with husband Mohammad Ahmed in Abu Dhabi on March 18 to attend to her mother who had a medical emergency back in Hyderabad, India.
“I literally was on a flying visit and only my 10 month old daughter, Kulsum accompanied me. I was to return on March 22, unfortunately all international flights closed by then,” she said. “My children - Abdul Wahed is seven, Mariam, six, Omer, four, and Moosa, two, are very distraught and cry a lot everytime I speak to them. My husband is trying his best to go to work, cook and also look after them. My children have never been away from me and are really struggling. This is an appeal from a desperate mother, I need to fly back to Abu Dhabi and be reunited with them,” she added.
“My daughter suffers from epileptic seizures”
Neeti Rodrigues, a 43-years-old sales director from Dubai flew to Mumbai on March 19 to be with her mother who was at a critical stage, receiving palliative care for cancer.
Rodrigues told Gulf News: “My mum was dying and I literally arrived in the nick of time on March 19. She passed away on March 20 and after completing her funeral rites I was all ready to fly back when the air space was closed, leaving her away from her husband Alwyn, son, Neal 17 and daughter Nicole, 11.
“My daughter Nicole suffers from Dravet’s syndrome - a severe form of epilepsy that leads to autism. She goes to a special school and attends therapy regularly. I have never been away from her for longer than one week. Now I have been away for over 45 days.
“My family has been so careful of Nicole’s health and hygiene so she should not get infected and suffer seizures. Now we all are so stressed trying to cope with this crisis one day at a time. I am praying hard that I be allowed to return to Dubai to be with Nicole who needs me. We were totally not prepared for such a situation and there is huge mental distress.”
“I am emotionally exhausted”
Ajita Sawant, flew to Mumbai on March 4 when there was no real threat of any kind of flight suspension. “My mother had a fall and needed hip surgery and I had to be by her side for nearly three weeks. I left behind my husband Mahesh and sons Ameya, nine, and Eeshan, 12. I literally left the kids home alone as my husband was at work and I took a flight dropping everything as it were. However, within three weeks when it was my time to return the lockdown was enforced and now I have been stuck in Mumbai for two months. Ever since, my husband is managing home, kids, cooking, kid’s home schooling as well as his own work. It’s a huge strain on him. Two months is a long time for little children to be away from their mother. They are now tired of asking when I will be back as I have nothing concrete to tell them. My worry now is, with opening of sectors in Dubai, if my husband needs to go back to work, my kids will be left alone at home. It’s emotionally exhausting not knowing your fate. The whole world is at home, while we stranded Indian expatriates are locked outside our rightful homes. Desperate to reach home. Desperate for normalcy.”
“My wife and kid are alone in Abu Dhabi”
Ankur Bansal, flew to Chandigarh on March 19, India to attend to his father who suffered a heart attack. “I had no choice but to take the next flight to tend to my father who was in the intensive care unit (ICU) for 10 days. Now I am unable to fly back. My wife, Amita has to report to work every day and there is no one to look after my son Arav, who is nine years old. We are so emotionally distraught to be separated like this for over 45 days. I request the governments of both countries to allow us to fly back. We will observe the mandatory 14 day quarantine protocol, but we need to be home.”
“My 77-year old mother in Dubai suffers from several health issues”
Kamini Kannan, 52, flew down to Bangalore, India on a family emergency on March 18 leaving behind her husband, mother and son. “I was hoping to return within a week, when the flights were suspended. Initially I thought the suspension was temporary, for a week, now after seven weeks, I am very distressed. My worry is about my mother and my husband who both have underlying medical conditions and are at risk. I have filled up all kinds of forms to fly us back, but so far haven’t received any definite answer. The wait seems unending. I have been a resident of Dubai for so long, it’s my home and staying away has really made be so distraught.”