DUBAI: Authorities in Dubai taking steps to help stranded passengers, including 22 Indians, who were in transit at the airport here when their home countries suddenly stopped inbound flights due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was reported on Friday.
Dubai Airports has issued a statement informing that airlines and embassies were now working to send the passengers to their home countries, the Khaleej Times said in a report. “Passengers who are stranded at Dubai International because of the cancellation of their onward flights are being assisted by Dubai Airports’ staff by referring them to their airlines and embassies who are working to repatriate them to their home countries,” the statement said.
The 22 Indian passengers were in transit at the Dubai Airport when New Delhi announced the decision to impose a ban on passenger flights. Some of them have been at the airport since March 18.
Furthermore, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also closed all its airports since Monday. Meanwhile, the Indian Consulate in Dubai said it is presently working with the UAE government to make arrangements for the passengers as New Delhi has still not given permission to repatriate them.
“We don’t have permission for repatriation of stranded Indian passengers. We are looking at what arrangements can be made for the passengers, and what they can be provided with, in coordination with the UAE government,” the Khaleej Times report quoted Vipul, the Consul General of India to Dubai, as saying.
Commenting on the conditions of the Indian passengers, Vipul said: “It is limited, but the food is available. They are in a challenging situation right now, because their baggage was checked-in and they have no access to their belongings.”
The Indian passengers arrived from European destinations such as Lisbon, Budapest, Barcelona, and at least 11 passengers who arrived from Sydney.
“We are really missing our families. We just want to go home,” said Deepak Gupta, an Indian passenger. “We are surviving on meager food. We don’t have enough clothes to change or anything for decent survival,” said Ankit Parek, an MBA student from Bengaluru.
“Nothing has happened so far. We are still stuck here. We are constantly in touch with the Indian Consulate. We have been asking them for masks, gloves, and sanitizers. We are not asking for the Indian government to fly us out immediately. We are okay to endure this. But at least provide us with basic essentials to sleep, to change and have proper food”.
Arunkumar Radhakrishnan, who flew from Sydney as his connecting flight to Cochin got cancelled, said: “We were really hoping that by now we would be out of the airport and back home. But nothing seems to be happening and we don’t know what to do.”
Radhakrishnan said all stranded passengers have undergone medical examinations and we are awaiting results. “We are being told that we will be shifted to another hotel. We have also signed a declaration form that said 14 days of quarantine is required as we come from abroad.”