Volunteers prepare meal packets during ‘Your City Needs You’ campaign. The campaign has distributed 500,000 free meals.
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
The Consulate General of India, Dubai, is flooded with help calls with Covid-19 concern as most of the queries have been about flights for going back to India, seeking medical help in Dubai and Northern Emirates, extension of visas in the UAE and food and medicine requirements.
In the past four weeks almost 3,500 calls and 3,000 emails have been answered, through the two 24×7 helplines – +971-56-5463903/ 54-3090575 – and the email – email@example.com – set up by the consulate to answer calls related to Covid-19. The mission has been answering all queries on its social media accounts – Twitter: @cgidubai, Facebook: @IndianConsulate.Dubai – as well.
“We assure all members of the Indian community that we will continue to render all assistance to them in this difficult situation. We continue to receive several calls everyday from people wishing to go back to India. We hope that the situation will soon become conducive for passenger flights to India to operate,” said a consulate spokesperson.
The Consulate General of India, Dubai, has also been coordinating various efforts and activities to support the Indian community in Dubai and Northern Emirates in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since Sunday, the Consulate has mobilised a team of doctors and paramedics volunteers for a Covid-19 isolation facility in Dubai, with the help of Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) Dubai, Chairman of Aster Group Dr. Azad Moopen, volunteers from KMCC and the wider Indian community.
The consulate’s tele-medicine and tele-psychological counselling numbers – 054-3090571/054-3090572 – which have been working for a week now have answered 500 calls in various languages.
A spokesperson of the Consulate told Gulf Today that they have received some requests for medicines from Indians who are stuck due to the Covid-19 restrictions and has helped at least 35 patients get medicines which were locally available, despite several challenges. This facility is being provided on a means tested basis, for the most needy people who cannot afford to buy their medicines.
In the last four weeks, the consulate has helped more than 4000 people with food packets or rations both through its Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) and through the community organisations and Indian associations. The assistance provided includes three labour camps with 150, 190 and 90 people. The mission has also arranged accommodation for at least 60 people from the Indian Community Welfare Fund.
Speaking about the 19 Indians stuck at the Dubai airport as they could not travel to India due to flight restrictions, the spokesperson thanked Emirates airlines for continuing to look after them. The mission remains in touch with them and has also given some financial help to them. The spokesperson expressed hope that they and other people who want to go back to India will be able to travel soon.
Due to the social distancing norms, Stay Home initiative of Dubai and sterilisation activities as well as the lockdown and other restrictions in India, some of routine services like passport and attestation services are being given only on an emergency basis, while some like visa and OCI remain suspended.
However, since last week the consulate has gradually started to take applications for renewal of passports which are expired or will expire by April 30 at the BLS outsourcing centre in Sharjah. The mission is expected to process about 100 passports everyday for the next few days. The mission has also been rendering emergency attestation services.
During the past four weeks, the mission has registered 80 deaths of Indian nationals and also coordinated repatriation of 17 mortal remains through the few cargo services available between India and UAE.
A lot of community organisations including Dubai Gurudwara, BAPS Hindu Temple, Rajasthan Business and Professional Group (RBPG), KMCC, ICAI Dubai Chapter, FOI Events, IPF and several others have been helping people in need of food or rations.
Many others who want to help the Consulate in its efforts to help the people affected by the Covid-19 crisis, may reach out through dedicated email – firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate these efforts.
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