The Covid-19 pandemic is a global catastrophe affecting every individual in one way or another. It therefore demands worldwide response involving everyone, extending a helping hand in any form.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Qatar’s government, residents and expatriates have been playing their part in global relief and support efforts. The spirit of sharing and caring was vividly witnessed during a recent relief activity carried out by the Sri Lankan expatriate community.
In a ceremony held at the Sri Lanka embassy, observing the Covid-19 precaution protocols, different community organisations handed over medical equipment to the ambassador for transportation to their home country for the assistance of those infected by the coronavirus.
The Sri Lankan embassy sent 150 oxygen cylinders and 22 pulse oximeters to Colombo via SriLankan Airlines. The medical equipment was contributed by different community organisations and well-wishers for Covid-19 patients.
The ceremony at the embassy was attended by Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Qatar, Mohamed Mafaz Mohideen, Sri Lankan Co-ordinating Committee (SLCC) president Tennison Silva, SLCC general secretary Lenny Cramer, office bearers of Sri Lankan Community Benevolent Fund (SLCBF) and Sri Lanka Business Council (SLBC).
Speaking to Gulf Times, the ambassador said that the virus had affected everyone irrespective of one’s religion, creed or colour.
“The community as a whole has come forward and contributed in any shape or form they have been able to do. It has been a huge encouragement to see what the community has been doing for their country in the hour of need. Sri Lanka is going through a wave that is lot more contagious and mortality rate is also higher. So any help we can provide to the health services is very much appreciated.
“They have shown great spirit. The SLCC has taken a lead and worked in terms of reaching out to the wider community to support the initiative. We have focused on supplying oxygen cylinders. The community came forward to purchase as many cylinders as possible. This time we are sending 150 cylinders. The equipment is being sent through air cargo making sure it is taken advantage of the very next day when it reaches Colombo. We will continue these efforts in the coming weeks.”
Responding to a question on support from other organisations in Qatar, ambassador Mohideen said: “Apart from reaching out to our own community, we have been reaching out to other organisations such as Qatar Red Crescent, Ooredoo Qatar and QIA. They have been very supportive. Qatar Red Crescent has Sri Lanka Red Cross as its strategic partners and they are going to review the needs on the ground. We are to get some help from them also.”
Highlighting the support of the embassy for the Sri Lankan community in Qatar, the ambassador said: “In the beginning of the pandemic, the embassy gave away different handouts to raise awareness. We also helped lots of people to repatriate to Sri Lanka in an organised fashion. The embassy collaborated with the focal point in Sri Lanka making sure to have enough quarantine facilities.”
Cramer said that the community as a whole has responded to their calls positively.
“The SLCBF and SLBC have played a major role in the contributions along with some well-wishers. For future efforts, we have asked the community to come up with the suggestions. We are hopeful that in near future we will again be able to support our country with the necessary medical equipment.”
The community representative further said: “Living in Qatar has helped them in supporting their people back home. In this difficult time, we need to stand together. We as a Sri Lankan community in Qatar have always extended a helping hand to our country in case of any calamity or natural disaster.”
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