Volunteers distribute PPE kits to passengers.
Over 125,000 Indians have been safely repatriated home from the UAE since the Vande Bharat Mission started on May 7. Several others will return to India during the Phase 4 of the mission which started on July 1.
Since more than 450,000 Indians had registered for repatriation, a number of community groups have come forward and have been playing an important role in repatriating Indians stranded in the UAE by organising chartered flights to various destinations in India.
Latest addition to the list was a flight chartered by Thanneer Panthal, a group of expatriate Indians in the UAE, to repatriate 172 stranded Indians. The flight took off from Sharjah International Airport and landed safely at Kochi International airport.
Najeem Rahman, convener of Thanneer Panthal’s flight charting wing, said that the motive behind this effort was to offer a helping hand to people who were in need of medical care, pregnant women, stranded visitors, people who have lost their jobs, low-income workers and those who were in financial crisis. The group helped the deserving countrymen by offering them low cost tickets and free tickets to those who could not bear the travel expenses.
He said that all the necessary precautions as per the Cocid-19 protocol were followed by each and every passenger. They were all provided with free PPE kits, face shields, hand sanitiser and snacks by the volunteers prior to boarding the flight.
Soon after the announcement of Covid-19 as a pandemic, the group had opened a help desk to serve those in need by supplying food, accommodation, flight tickets, medicines and moral support by providing counselling to those in need.
Apart from opening a help desk to receive calls during this pandemic, a designated team started to collect data of people from the Maranchery region of Kerala in UAE, to call and inquire about their well-being. The project named Hello Brother is still functioning.
"We received hundreds of calls every day seeking help to return to India, which made us realise the need of chartered flight as Air India flights operated under the Vande Bharat Mission were not enough to repatriate such a big number of Indians from the UAE. We hope to organise more flights to help our countrymen get back home,” he said.
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