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Law enforcers in Dubai have picked up at least 87
homeless Ghanaians who have been putting up at a park due to the
coronavirus pandemic.

According to Dubai police, majority of them have been out of jobs since the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

“We wanted to help solve this problem because we know many of them
have lost their jobs or are on visit visas,” a Dubai Police spokesman
said.

“After we were alerted of their situation, we transported about 40 or 50 of them to accommodation where they could sleep.

“We are in contact with the embassy and consulate to help these people.”

The Jebel Ali site is a series of air-conditioned tents, where
officers said the group could stay until their embassy was able to help
them.

When pictures of the group sleeping in the park emerged on social
media, residents from across the city delivered food and water to help.

Moses, a father of five, was one of the men given accommodation.

“Now we have food and drink and a safe place to rest,” Moses said.

“I was sleeping in the park for about a week and volunteers were bringing us food. It was very difficult in the heat.

“Some police officers came on Sunday night and told us they will get
us accommodation and within a few minutes a bus arrived and took us to
Jebel Ali.

“The police have consoled us, motivated us. We didn’t get this from our own government but the UAE people, they’ve helped us.”

Moses said he arrived in Dubai on December 12 on a visit visa to look
for work. After months of job hunting, he ran out of money.

He wants to stay in the UAE to find a job but will probably have to return home.

Michael Agyapong, 23, was one of the group who did not opt for temporary accommodation.

Mr Agyapong said he would stay in the park and visit the nearby consulate each day in the hope of getting home.

“I don’t want to be a burden on the UAE and keep taking food and drink from people,” he said.

“It brings shame on me, I just want to go home to my daughter, mum and dad.”

Mr Agyapong said he arrived in Dubai on March 3 after paying more than Dh5,000 for a flight and visit visa.

A friend working in Dubai had assured him he would find work quickly,
but job opportunities dried up when the coronavirus outbreak hit.

“I don’t have social media, I don’t follow news much, so I was not
aware of how bad the pandemic was getting when I came,” Mr Agyapong
said.

“I paid Dh700 for a share room in Dubai and then moved to Ajman because it was cheaper. I paid Dh400 for a bed space.”

Unable to find a job, Mr Agyapong called a travel agent in mid-March to book a flight home but the borders closed on March 19.

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