Dubai girl left alone mourns the death of her father


Sabeena Dhalla, widow of Inayat Ali Dhalla, a long-time UAE resident is pleading with UAE authorities to help her fly back so that she can mourn the loss of her husband with her teenaged daughter, currently on her own in Dubai and struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.

Her husband was on a business trip to his home country Tanzania when he contracted coronavirus while stuck in Dar es Salaam due to COVID-19 flight restrictions. He died in the early hours of April 24, a little over two weeks before his 47th birthday.

Sabeena, originally from India, was visiting her ailing mum in England when Ali left for Tanzania. Hoping to return within two days, he left his daughter Hadiya, 17, in the family’s Al Ghusais apartment with their maid. Now Hadiya is all alone with no family members around to comfort or console her.

“My whole world has caved in. I am devastated. We were planning to celebrate our 25th anniversary later this month. Why did he have to leave us so soon? ” an inconsolable Sabeena said over the phone from Leicester, in England’s East Midlands region. She was due to return to the UAE before Ramadan.

Sabeena said her husband was diabetic and fell ill unexpectedly in mid-April. “Our eldest son Mujtaba who works as a pilot in Tanzania rushed him to Aga Khan Hospital where he was tested positive for coronavirus,” she said.

Mujtaba said his father’s condition deteriorated rapidly and he succumbed to his illness . Hadiya said she is numb with disbelief. “Being alone exacerbates the pain. At a time when our family ought to have been together and share our sorrows, my mum is stuck in England, my brother is in Tanzania while I am all by myself in the UAE.”

Sabeena said she desperately wants to be reunited with her son and daughter. “Our family has been torn apart. I urge UAE authorities to consider our request on humanitarian grounds and fly me and my son back to the UAE. None of us could attend the funeral. I need to get back to my daughter who is going through unspeakable trauma. There are repatriation flights going to Dubai from the UK. I need permission to get onboard any of these flights,” she said.