Pakistani businessman in Dubai offers free stay to lockdown-hit expats including Indians

coastaldigest.com news network
June 16, 2020

Dubai, Jun 16: In a humanitarian gesture, a UAE-based Pakistani businessman has come forward to offer free interim accommodation options to covid lockdown hit expatriates. 

The men benefitted from Ali Rao's housing initiative include Indians, Pakistanis and Africans. 

Inspired by the ongoing efforts taken by the UAE leadership to take care of all UAE residents, Ali Rao, CEO of Rao Holdings LLC in Dubai is offering free shared accommodation to unemployed male bachelors and workers, especially expatriates who do not have a place to stay.

Ali Rao currently has a capacity of 100 accommodation options that he wishes to offer to those who cannot afford house rent. 

"We have already placed 25 such men in these housing options spread across Al Quoz, Jebel Ali and Muhaisnah areas of Dubai," Ali Rao told local media. He works in collaboration with major charities in Dubai, who refer the cases to Rao.

"One of our companies - the property management division - deals with industrial housing accommodation. We decided to put this space to good use when I came across media articles that highlighted the plight of these homeless men," he said. 

Rao has already sheltered 25 homeless workers in the Al Quoz area. "We have received applications for 35 more, however, many of these men are due to return to their home countries, so we are awaiting confirmation from the charities," he explained. He has provided them with free Wi-Fi, bedding, blankets, bedsheets, and pillows.

"In one unit, we provide them with food and the other unit, social workers and the associated charities deliver food," he added. The housing is exclusively for men and not for women and families. "Many are seeking jobs, so they needed Wi-Fi. I went to the camps today and set up a Wi-Fi connection. Someone wanted to eat eggs, so we got him some eggs and rice. These are simple things most of us take for granted, but to many people this is vital," he added.

Since most of the residents are looking to return to their home countries, Rao is also in the process of providing them with air tickets.

"If the need arises, we will add more units," he explained. Rao said, "The ongoing pandemic has hit everyone hard, especially those with no security to fall back on. The economic and income disparities have only increased in this time, with those dependent on daily wages being rendered homeless in massive numbers across the globe."

He added, "I felt heartbroken and if I would stand by and watch, I would feel very small as a human being, I won't be able to stand in front of the creator I thought to myself. These are some very difficult times for all of us."

A beneficiary of the programme said, "I am very happy with this initiative as living outside in the summer is very difficult. It's very hot. I want to thank God and this company for providing me with a roof over my head."

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News Network
September 30,2020

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Dubai, Sept 30: An Indian expat who had suffered a stroke five months ago and since been bedridden in a hospital, was flown home earlier this week.

Ramachandran Kottakkunnu, 60, left for India in a wheelchair - in a condition far from the life he had lived in the UAE. He had been a UAE resident for over 30 years and used to run a successful business until he lost it all, said Praveen Kumar, the social worker who managed his repatriation in collaboration with the Consulate-General of India in Dubai.

After losing his business, he started working for a small textile shop in Deira's Naif district, earning a salary of Dh2,500. He struggled but he kept going because his wife and daughter are both ill, Khaleejtimes reported.

"His wife has cancer and his daughter has heart disease. That is the only reason he was still living here in the UAE, to pay for his family's medical bills," said Kumar.

Then, he suffered stroke, and the small store he was working with could no longer pay for his hospital expenses. He stayed in the hospital for nearly five months, with his bills reaching almost Dh1.6 million.

"Ramachandran was in a deplorable state. He was in a vegetative, coma state when he was admitted to the hospital five months ago. He still cannot speak; however, thanks to the hospital where he was being treated, he was able to get on a wheelchair and fly home," Kumar said. A wheelchair and an air ticket were provided by the consulate.

"Thanks to the Consulate-General of India and intervention from social workers and volunteers from the mission's medical team, Ramachandran was finally repatriated to his hometown in Kasaragod district in Kerala. He is now admitted for palliative care at a major hospital in Mangalore, Karnataka," Kumar said.

Though he is still unable to speak, the social workers thought it best that he avail of treatment in India instead of staying in the UAE with no means to pay the mounting medical bills.

Jitender Singh Negi, consul for labour, consular and Madad, told Khaleej Times: "I can confirm that Ramachandran was repatriated to India with our support. He had an outstanding bill of nearly 1.6 million. However, the hospital was kind enough to release him.

"He was working for a very small company that was in financial distress amid the Covid-19 crisis, so they were not in a position to support him. Our volunteers worked with him towards his repatriation."

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Agencies
September 29,2020

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Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait passed away on today in a hospital in the United States. He was 91.

Born in 1929, Sheikh Sabah is widely regarded as the architect of modern Kuwait’s foreign policy – having served as foreign minister for nearly 40 years between 1963 and 2003 – when he became prime minister.

He became Kuwait’s emir in January 2006 after the death of Sheikh Jaber al-Sabah.

In August 2019, Kuwait acknowledged Sheikh Sabah suffered an unspecified medical “setback” that required he be admitted to hospital.

In July 2020, he flew to the United States seeking medical attention after undergoing surgery. A US Air Force C-17 flying hospital transported Sheikh Sabah from Kuwait to Rochester, Minnesota, home of the flagship campus of the Mayo Clinic.

The emir had his appendix removed in 2002, two years after having a pacemaker fitted. In 2007, he underwent urinary tract surgery in the United States.

When the emir was absent in the past, 83-year-old Crown Prince Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the emir’s half-brother, was appointed acting ruler as per the country’s constitutional law. Sheikh Nawaf is an elder statesman who has held high office for decades, including the defence and interior portfolios.

Sheikh Sabah had pushed for diplomacy to solve regional issues, such as the continuing boycott of Qatar by four Arab nations, and he hosted major donor conferences for war-torn nations such as Iraq and Syria.

Kuwait television earlier interrupted regular programming to cut to Quaranic verses on Tuesday, a move that often signifies the death of a senior member of the Gulf Arab state’s ruling family.

His death comes as the nation continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 103,981 people and caused 605 related deaths in the country of 4.1 million. Its health ministry said more than 95,500 people have recovered from COVID-19.

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Agencies
September 23,2020

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Saudi Arabia celebrates its National Day on Wednesday this year, with concerts and other events, while adhering to COVID-19 precautionary measures, to commemorate the Kingdom’s unification under its founder, King Abdulaziz Al Saud, 90 years ago.

Celebrations amid the coronavirus pandemic

This year, the country’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) organized a string of concerts that will take place from September 22-26 to celebrate the national holiday, in accordance with GEA guidelines that were put in place to ensure everyone’s safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidelines emphasize the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, reducing the duration of social contact, in addition to other preventative measures.

However, authorities in the Kingdom have reduced the number of attendees expected to attend the concerts as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus, according to Rotana Music, a record label company involved in organizing the concerts.

Also happening this year, Saudi designer Omaima Kindassa is staging a fashion show in Jeddah to showcase traditional clothing from regions around the Kingdom, inspired by the traditions of the diverse tribal communities in the country.

On Wednesday, more than 60 military and civilian aircrafts will participate in a live show that will air on Saudi TV 1, GEA said in a tweet, adding that it will be the largest air show in the history of Saudi Arabia’s National Day celebrations.

Additionally, GEA has set up an online platform for free National Day-themed printables that includes logos, images, and illustrations that users could download and print at home to use for decorative purposes.

Sense of unity

Saudis feel “a sense of unity” every year on National Day, 30-year-old Sultan al-Osaimi from Riyadh told Al Arabiya English.

“I feel like people are united on National Day, you can feel it in the air. Everyone feels a sense of belonging, this is especially heightened on national holidays,” al-Osaimi said.

“Everybody gets excited, people dress up in green [the color of the Saudi flag].”

“I am proud to be from this country. May our country always stay safe,” al-Osaimi added.

Al Anoud bin Juma, a 23-year-old, echoed al-Osaimi’s remarks.

“Although many people will stay home due to COVID-19, I really feel like Saudis have a genuine feeling of belonging and unity, this year more than ever.”

Bin Juma, who lives in Riyadh but is a Qassim native, explained that this feeling of unity comes from the safety and security the Kingdom provides, even during a global pandemic. “I feel safe here [in Saudi] and I appreciate the efforts of the country during the coronavirus crisis.”

“Saudi Arabia always puts its citizens and residents first, and I am very thankful to be from this country,” Bin Juma said, adding that she loves to celebrate its National Day.

Previous National Day celebrations

In 2005, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz made September 23 a national holiday in the Kingdom.

Since then, the country celebrated its national day in various ways. Last year, Saudi Arabia’s 89th National Day featured over 70 entertainment events across the Kingdom, including light shows, fireworks, and music performances, organized by the country’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) for a five-day National Day Season.

In 2018, more than 900,000 fireworks lit up the sky simultaneously from over 58 sites across the Kingdom in celebration of its 88th National Day.

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