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Reuniting those separated by COVID-19

12 Aug 2020 By SHADDAD AL MUSALMY

A group of volunteers in Oman has been facilitating the return of Indian expatriates and their families, who have been stranded abroad, to the country, by completing all the formalities as well as arranging travel for them.

Since March this year, with all the international flights grounded, it has been a period of anxiety and uncertainty for many Indian expatriates stranded in India, especially children, who have been separated from their families residing in Oman. 

The team consists of three good Samaritans – Kintu Shah, Azad Krishnan and Nidhi Bhatt – who have been working tirelessly to get residents of Oman back amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kintu Shah, the force behind the team, told Muscat Daily that the support group not only works to ensure approvals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but is also in touch with the airlines (including national airlines of Oman and India) to help expatriates return. “Over 200 people have returned with the our help, so far, as they were stranded in India,” she said. 

Kintu, who herself was stuck in India since March, struggled to return to Oman without any source or help. “After I succeeded in coming back to Oman, I helped many such stranded Indians. We are making sure to bring back every resident who seeks our help,” she said.

She added that her team has helped bring back more than 200 people in four flights  while more flights are still lined up. “The next group is scheduled to come on August 20. This will be followed by others later,” she said.

“We are doing this not to gain any personal intention or fame but assisting people who are desperately wanting to come back and reunite with families or get back to work. We have more flights lined up from India, so, if anyone wants help to come back to Muscat can contact us directly,” she added.

Kintu has started a Whatsapp group to facilitate communication with stranded expats. “As we are getting many queries we started a Whatsapp group in the process to streamline the service. This group can be contacted through https://chat.whatsapp.com/Jv45Fi6NSNuH4YoMcnXe7q,” she said.

She added that the group has also been briefing the returnees to follow all the precautions and protocols of the sultanate. “It’s our responsibility to follow national protocol when we are back in Oman. Confirmed cases should be quarantined as part of national response strategies,” she said.

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