This global pandemic has prompted world leaders to declare lockdown in their nations. People are advised to stay at home to flatten the curve and not overwhelm the healthcare system. The same is true in Qatar, where many OFW expats are currently home quarantined and not working at all.
So what are the OFWs doing right now to stay busy despite the lockdown? Well, a few of our kababayans in Qatar have resorted to documenting their current state through YouTube and vlogging. Let’s look at some of the things they are doing while waiting for things to get back to normal again.
A Look at the OFW Situation in Qatar During This Pandemic
What was once a bustling city now feels like a ghost town. Some OFWs have hit the streets to go to the groceries and documented what Qatar’s roads are like right now. Cars are just parked along the side of the road, not going anywhere. You find one occasionally on the streets but far from the usual busy commercial road traffic that Qatar is infamous for.
In this video, you can see how peaceful the streets are. Groceries, pharmacies and other stores that sell essential goods are still open, but most establishments are closed. All public transport such as the bus and metro rail are closed as well. Cinemas, playgrounds are also closed. The Qatar government has effectively implemented the lock down.
Many restaurants are still allowed to open, provided that they don’t let people in to eat, and only take out is allowed. However, as reported by an OFW in this video, restaurants are forced to temporarily close anyway, and no one’s sure when all of this will be over.
Helping Other OFWs
Most OFWs are not at work right now because their companies let them rest. The less fortunate ones belong to the “no work, no pay” status so it’s really hard for them. The good thing is, there are many kind hearted Filipinos who have generously bought goods and distributed them to others in need. In the video above, the OFW gave rice and groceries to his fellow OFWs to help them in these trying times.
Financial Assistance to Displaced OFWs
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has provided financial help to land based and sea based displaced OFWs by giving them 200 US Dollars. Displaced OFWs are those that have lost their jobs do to COVID-19, were asked by their employers to go back home, those whose companies have closed, OFWs that are no work, no pay, OFWs that are on vacation and can’t go back to the countries where they worked due to travel ban.
The OFWs need to complete several requirements before they can get the financial help. These requirements include, among others, filled-up application form for special cash assistance, copy of passport, proof of overseas employment, proof of loss of employment, and others. For the complete details go to the POLO Doha website.
Indeed, these times are really tough for everybody. However, it is important to keep the faith, stay at home to save lives, and try to be productive even when you’re just at home. If you decide to help others by braving the front lines, don’t forget to stay safe always.