Time is running out for Indians who find themselves stranded in the Dubai airport. With the UAE going into lockdown, one of the busiest airports in the world has stopped all operations, leaving many stranded as they can neither return to their point of origin nor travel to their destination.
Reports estimate that over 20 Indians are stranded at the Dubai airport. The situation is grim as UAE has shut entry for all travellers from March 19 and the airport closes for two weeks beginning midnight.
Stuck in the transit area of international terminal of the airport, Rajendran Nair took to Twitter to appeal to the ministry of external affairs for help. “I am an Indian citizen and I am stuck here for the last 48 hours without any way to India due to the border closure,” he tweeted. “I cannot travel to Russia as I live there because they have taken the same steps. I am basically stuck in no mans land without a place to stay in a common area where I could easily contract COVID 19.”
He added that there were 22 other Indians with him. “We are not provided any safety measures towards the COVID 19 virus and are all kept in the general area. I fear for our health as this is a hotbed for the virus to spread.”
Reaching out to Nair, Vipul, the Consul General Dubai tweeted: “Our officers are in touch with you. We know situation is tough but in this pandemic situation it has been difficult to find quick solutions. We are in constant touch with authorities in UAE.”
Dear Nairji, our officers are in touch with you. We know situation is tough but in this pandemic situation it has been difficult to find quick solutions. We are in constant touch with authorities in UAE to see how relief cannot provided. Vipul, Consul General— India in Dubai (@cgidubai) March 25, 2020
Nair is not the only one. Arun Singh, a UAE resident was due to take the last flight out to India on Sunday, but he fell asleep in the waiting area and missed his flight. When he woke up, he was not allowed to enter the UAE as the country is preparing to enter a state of lockdown. He uploaded a video asking for help and was quoted as saying, that while things are available at the moment, on Wednesday, everything will close. The airport shuts down for two weeks.
Another video shows several people sleeping on the floor in the airport.
This video is taken by a fellow Indian stranded in the airport, these are our conditions. Please help to find us a solution as no decision has been taken by the concerned authorities. @MEAIndia @meaMADAD @DrSJaishankar @ndtv @timesofindia @NewIndianXpress pic.twitter.com/iwhJHKJ8yF— Rajhu Nair (@RajhuNair) March 25, 2020
A spokesperson from the Emirates airline two days ago, confirmed that there were 15 passengers who were stranded in the airport. The Indian consulate in Dubai has been in touch with passengers, in an attempt to help. There have been reports of the Indian mission trying to provide food and medicines to passengers stranded.
With many Indians stranded across the world, the MEA has established a functional helpline on COVID-19, which is available 24X7. It recommends that Indians stranded abroad should get in touch with the Indian mission and the COVID helpline.