Coronavirus: UAE resident launches video campaign to put 'faces to names' of those stranded overseas

Abed Magdy has shared the stories of dozens of people like him, who are desperate to return to the Emirates

A UAE resident stranded abroad has launched a video appeal to urge the public to abide by stay-at-home orders so he and thousands of others "can come home".

Abed Magdy wants to put "faces to the names" of some of the people left in limbo after flights were grounded as part of global measures to combat the spread of Covid-19.

The Egyptian, who works in a bank, has been in his homeland for six weeks after flying back with his wife to be close to family for the birth of the couple's first child.

He has produced an emotive 57-second video featuring 60 images of other UAE residents, highlighting their desire to return to family and friends in the country.

In the clip, text reads: “We are not Emirati, but UAE is our home. Please stay home so we can come back to our homes”.

Mr Magdy said he "supports the governments efforts" to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Quote
Me, personally, I got stuck in Egypt while attending the birth of my child and have been here since early March

"I decided to gather the voices of as many UAE residents as I could who are stuck outside the country to deliver the message that the UAE is our home," he told The National.

“We have a lot of love and consideration for the country.

"I received more than 300 pictures in total but could only use about 60 in the final clip.

“I got stuck in Egypt while attending the birth of my child and have been here since early March.”

He said he and his wife, Rahma Ibrahim, were eager to return to the UAE with their one-month-old daughter, Jameela.

Mr Magdy posted the request for pictures last week on the UAE Expats Stuck Abroad Facebook page.

The group, which has more than 4,800 members, was created on March 21 as a platform to share travel announcements for residents who want to return to the UAE.

Hundreds of people contacted Mr Magdy and shared their experiences of feeling helpless as they awaited the chance to return to the Emirates.

“My name is Mehreen and we are an Indian family based in Dubai, stuck in Kyrgyzstan for more than one month,” one woman said in a message to Mr Magdy.

“My mother is old and alone in Dubai and our jobs are also at risk.”

“Hi Abed, I work in the healthcare sector in Dubai and came to Angola for work purposes,” another resident said.

“I am stuck here, have a heart condition and I have run out of medication.

“My wife has been alone in Dubai for 45 days with little financial support.”

Across the world, international air travel was brought to a near standstill last month due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

After passenger flights in and out of the UAE were suspended, more than 29,000 residents overseas signed up to a government registration service, Twajudi, to return to the country.

While some were reunited with loved ones via special charter and cargo flights, the majority of foreign residents are waiting for permission to return.

To date, the UAE has brought home 2,286 Emiratis from 43 countries and helped repatriate more than 22,000 people stuck in the country due to travel restrictions.

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