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No barrier in Bayanihan: OFW victim of Satwa fire recounts how fellow Filipinos, Indians help them survive the raze

Photos by Gina Fe Sanico

A Dubai-based Filipino recounted her experience in the recent fire that razed their home in Satwa on September 24, and how so many Filipinos and other nationalities joined together to help them survive the ordeal.

Gina Fe Sanico, 34, told The Filipino Times that if it weren’t for the Indian who alerted them about the fire, and the many Filipino groups who poured in help after they lost most of their belongings, they probably would have spent the next few months utterly devastated and hopeless.

Sanico said the blaze started at around 5 AM in their villa in Al Badaa, Satwa due to a defected electrical outlet where they used to plug in their microwave. The smoke went all the way to the ceiling, and reached a gas tank two meters away, resulting in an explosion and further spread of the fire.

She said the Indian living in their building, who was always going to the gym, woke up at around 5 AM to the sight of the smoke and fire. Knowing that they would have been trapped, she said he and his brothers immediately knocked on their door and helped them quickly get out of the villa—just in time before the said gas tank exploded.

The OFW said that in their haste, they ran without any footwear and with only the clothes on their back. Even the balikbayan box they were supposed to send to the Philippines had been engulfed by the fire.

“From our family, nagpapasalamat kami ng sobra sobra sa mga Indian brothers na nangalamapag ng pintuan at nagligtas sa amin during the fire! Utang po namin sa kanila ang second life namin lalo n dun sa nakakita ng apoy,” she said.

She also expressed her deep gratitude to the many Filipino groups who donated goods and essential items to her and her family, adding that they received so much assistance that they had to donate some to others in need.

“Ang daming dumagdag na tulong even today, may mga calls and messages pa rin. Around 25 Filipino groups po ang nagpaabot ng tulong, bukod sa iba pang galing sa mga friends and strangers,” she said.

Among the groups and individuals who helped them, said Sanico, included the following:

1. Kalayaan 2020

2. Pinas Express Cargo

3. Kabayan Barter headed by Sir Joey

4. Triskelion DUBAI Chapter

5. AKRHO Dubai

6. CFC Dubai

7. Dubai Bikers

8. Stop & Help headed by Miss Heather

9. “Mr. Beardo” Shirad Sahaladdin from Lebanon

10. Sunrise 315 Karama

11. Food Bank UAE

12. CIASI GROUP Dubai Chapter

13. Ortigas Restaurant

14. Holy Shirt

15. Pinoy Bayanihan Community

16. RNB Ladies Salon

17. Dubai Badminton Group

18. Emy Luxuryshop

19. Ms. Natasha from the British and south African Community

20. Mosaic Church

21. World Revival International Church

22. “Padyakeros”Cycling Buddies Dubai

23. Barter & Deal Group Dubai

Sanico also noted that the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai was quick to provide assistance, with Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes calling her to ask if they need any assistance and if their passports were still intact.

The OFW said that all the assistance they received were equally divided to all the 20 victims of the fire, as well as to the Indians who helped them get out of their burning house.

“Sa lahat ng mga nagpaabot ng tulong, maraming maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat! God bless us all!” she said.

Jamille Domingo-Marasigan

Jamille Domingo-Marasigan gathers stories on a wide array of topics, particularly on the Philippines, UAE, Saudi, and Bahrain—which are published on The Filipino Times Newspaper, The Filipino Times Website, and The Filipino Times Newsletter. She also presents the news on cam in the pre-recorded daily broadcast of The Filipino Times Newsbreak—a run-through of the most important events of the day, reaching 5,000 to 20,000 views—to deliver stories to audiences inclined to audio-visual content online. For recommendations and story pitches, you can reach her at [email protected]

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