Indian consulate officials interact with community members
Indian consulate officials interact with community members during the special passport seva camp held in Fujairah. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Indian expats affected by the UAE floods last month can get their lost or damaged passports replaced free of cost, the Indian Consulate in Dubai has announced.

Following the highest rainfall in the country in 27 years, several areas of Fujairah, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah experienced flooding in the last week of July. At least seven expats died and hundreds of residents were displaced after their homes and properties were flooded.

Officials from the Indian Consulate in Dubai visited flood-affected areas and assured all necessary assistance to the affected Indian nationals.

Rain in Fujairah

Special camp

The consulate also held a special passport seva (service) camp on Sunday, August 7, for residents of Fujairah and Kalba after Indian associations and community volunteers apprised the mission about several Indian expats reporting damages to their belongings including passports.

“The camp was held to facilitate those Indian nationals whose passports got damaged or lost during the floods,” said Ramkumar Thangaraj, Consul (Passport, Education and Attestation).

The diplomat told Gulf News on Thursday that 83 applications were received so far.

“The applications for damaged or lost passports have been accepted on gratis basis. We will continue to accept such applications till August 28,” he said.

Community volunteers have received reports of around 125 lost or damaged passports, said Dr Puthur Rahman, president of the Indian Social Club in Fujairah and Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) UAE, who was among the social workers to first approach the mission seeking support for the flood-hit Indians.

“We have been informed about 124 cases and more than 80 applications have been submitted. The remaining ones are expected to submit their applications in the coming days.”

Thoughtful gesture

He said the consulate’s gesture to replace lost or damaged passports for free has been widely appreciated by community members and affected residents.

“It is a thoughtful gesture from the consulate. Consul General Dr Aman Puri was personally following up the situation after the floods,” he said.

Khidr Mohammed, who lost his passport after his company building collapsed during the floods, also appreciated the move. However, he said he was unable to submit his application for a new passport as he was waiting for a police report about his lost passport.

Thangaraj said necessary checks are made to verify the genuineness of the damages to the passports and those who have lost their passports are required to get a police report as well. Once all the details are furnished, the replaced passports can be received by applicants in two days.

Those who are yet to submit their applications can do so through any of the branches of BLS International Services, the outsourced agency that processes Indian passport applications. “They (flood-hit Indians) can submit a special request citing the reason,” Thangaraj clarified.

He added that the mission continues to support flood-hit Indian citizens through various Indian associations by providing provisions and other support.