Migrant workers from Telangana, some of whom have contracted COVID-19, say they have received no treatment or medicine.

No access to toilets cramped spaces Migrant workers with COVID-19 in UAE seek help
news Coronavirus Friday, April 24, 2020 - 19:03

A group of 50 migrant labourers from Telangana, stranded in Ajman, United Arab Emirates (UAE) are seeking assistance from the state and Indian authorities to return home.

According to the migrants, there are over 50 people stuck in a labour camp where they were accommodated by their employer. The labourers have released videos explaining their ordeal. According to them, the company which recruited them has contracted them to work in an Ajman-based hospital, which is currently treating COVID-19 patients.

In a video, one worker said, “Though 10 people in the camp have tested positive for the virus, the company is not taking care of us. All of us are stuck here in pathetic conditions. They are neither doing tests on the people, nor providing treatment to those who tested positive already. Our situation is miserable.”

Another worker said, “We all are working in Belhasa company. Our work location is Al Qassimi hospital. If something happens to us, our company or government is not taking responsibility. There are no basic facilities. Among us, there are 10 positive cases in the camp, we all are forced to live in the spaces, use the same corridor and washrooms.”

The labourers urged the authorities to take note of their situation and help them out to return home to India.

In another video clip, five labourers said that they were tested positive for COVID-19 and are facing difficulties in quarantining. One of them said, “All of us have tested positive for COVID-19, all of us are Telugus. Please do help us. We are forced to live in this small room for the past four days. Treatment and medicine are not being given. We are having coughs and it is increasing day by day.”

They said that they were not in a position to use the washrooms and food is being provided to them through windows by their colleagues. 

According to some estimates, India has over 87 lakh immigrants in Gulf countries; around 30 lakh are migrant labourers from the Telugu states.

Activists of Gulf migrant welfare associations said that authorities in UAE are placing positive cases in home quarantine while treating serious cases in hospitals.They have urged Indian Consulate authorities to reach out to stranded labourers and shift them to safe zones to provide proper medical care.

According to authorities of Indian Consulate in Dubai, there were 80 deaths of Indian nationals due to COVID-19.

Swadesh Parkipandla, President of Pravasi Mithra Labour Union, said, “Appoint more Labour Attaches in all 18 ECR (Emigration Clearance Required) countries to manage post-COVID-19 labour welfare and to conduct labour camp visits once a week with medical practitioners, lawyers and psychologists.”

Guggilla Ravi Goud, Convenor, Telangana Gulf Workers Joint Action Committee, in a statement, called for special measures to address the health issues of migrants.

He said, “Develop a separate fund such as the ICWF (Indian Community Welfare Fund) to exclusively deal with migrant worker health concerns and establish a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to save the lives of Indian workers during such crises in the future.”

Read: Gulf migrant labourers from Telangana and AP fear unemployment

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