Many Indian expats who were stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to airport closures while they were on their way to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, have finally returned to the designated destinations with some taking buses to Riyadh, a media report said.
Around 600 Indian expats from Saudi and Kuwait were sheltered by two community groups in the UAE after they were stranded due to sudden airport closures in the two neighbouring countries last month, the Gulf News report issued on Sunday said.
At least 350 of the stranded expats were accomodated by the UAE Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) in a building under the Ministry of Health and Prevention in Ajman.
Another 250 were housed at a workers' accommodation in Dubai Investment Park by the Indian Cultural Foundation (ICF) volunteers under Dubai Markaz Centre, in tie-up with construction firm Aasa Group. The stranded Indians, mostly blue-collar workers, had started flying back to their countries of residence since last week after the airports reopened.
Community groups help
However, due to the high fares, many faced delays after rescheduling their tickets for affordable fares, following which the community groups decided to arrange buses to transport such expats to Saudi.
"So far, 54 people have been taken to Riyadh by bus free of charge and again today 29 more are leaving. The last bus will leave on the night of January 12," the Gulf News report quoted Puthur Rahman, president of UAE KMCC National Committee, as saying.
Lukuman Mangad, ICF volunteer captain, said 70 passengers were sent in three buses over the weekend. "Except for a few from Kuwait, who are waiting to catch their flights, all the passengers have left their accommodations."
The Indian Consulate in Dubai provided a financial aid of 30,000 dirhams to KMCC to help out the stranded expats.