Indian Embassy tells 1,500 hurricane-hit Indian families in Caribbean to ‘go to hell’


VENEZUELA Sept 9 (TNS): As many as 1,500 Indian families stranded in the Caribbean in the wake of powerful hurricane have simply gotten the cold shoulder from their own embassy at the most difficult time when they were expecting all-out assistance.

The Indian Embassy in Venezuela, according to a report in the Mid-Day, won’t help the nearly 1,500 Indians who are stranded in the Caribbean island of St Maarten.

In the wake of the massive hurricane, the Indian families there are living without access to food, water or electricity, and are in constant anxiety of being robbed. But, when an Indian resident spoke to an embassy official about an evacuation, they were simply asked to ‘go to hell’. The website however didn’t identify the complainant.

The Dutch territory of St Maarten is one of the islands battered by Hurricane Irma.

One of the affectees, Seema Shahani, who lives in St Kitts, another island that is merely 20 minutes away by flight, has her parents taking refuge at her brother’s house at St Maarten.

“They were visiting him on vacation. Both have health issues and will soon run out of their medicine. We have no way of getting these medicines to them,” she told mid-day over an e-mail exchange.

Shahani had also written an e-mail to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday, as well as tweeted to her multiple times, to tell her about how an evacuation was of utmost importance.

In her letter, she mentioned that her friend Sunil Gehani had tried getting in touch over the phone with a certain Mr. Shrivastava from the Indian Embassy in Venezuela. “But he simply asked us to go to hell, and started asking my friend who would pay for the expenses of flying them out,” reads Shahani’s letter to Swaraj.

She adds, “There is no food or water, and the police are unable to control the looting. Each and every supermarket has been robbed. Our people are seeing it happening, but they are being told that no one can stop the looting now. We contacted [an official in] the Indian Embassy in Venezuela, but he asked us “to go to hell”.”

Satish Gupta, Sushma Swaraj’s personal secretary, replied to Shahani’s e-mail. “We have noted contents of your e-mail with great concern. Let me assure you on the behalf of the Ministry and EAM that we shall do everything possible to help the Indians there. We have already initiated all actions to help Indians. …we shall appreciate if you can inform details of the staff who conveyed, “go to hell”…You can always reach us for any assistance.”