Hotline for Sri Lankans in UAE to get updates on virus

Sri Lankan expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been urged to contact the Sri Lankan Embassy in the UAE via the recently launched 24-hour toll-free helpline number (800119119) with regard to the coronavirus.

The Embassy launched the toll-free helpline along with a number of community outreach programmes recently.

Minister Counsellor (Labour) to the Sri Lanka Embassy in the UAE H. K. K. Ashoka Jayasundera stated that the helpline was launched as a result of receiving some 36,000 calls last year on the embassy’s landline number.

“We receive over 100 phone calls daily from our nationals on the general numbers. Making a call is an additional expense for the people, mostly workers. So the embassy wanted to have a dedicated helpline facility. The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment collaborated with the embassy to successfully implement this task. The helpline will enable us to provide better service and free of cost to our nationals,” Jayasundara added.

The embassy has also started a monthly medical camp, counselling sessions, and extended mobile consular service to Ras Al Khaimah. All these programmes are conducted on Fridays.

“On the first Friday of the month, we are in Al Ain to help resolve consular and labour issues, renew passports and attest certificates. We are in Ras Al Khaimah on every fourth Friday. Two new services are medical camps on every second Friday and counselling services given to expats on the third Friday, Jayasundara said.

Recently, the embassy conducted a blood donation drive and a medical camp to mark the 72nd anniversary of independence of Sri Lanka and 40 years of diplomatic relations with the UAE.

Jayasundara said around 300,000 Sri Lankan expats live in the UAE, with over 60,000 in Abu Dhabi, adding that more than 10,000 had visited the embassy last year with various issues. (Colombo Gazette)