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Gurgaon: Latin American expats come to the aid of fire victims

The expats distributed relief material at the site of the slum in DLF Phase 1 that had caught fire

gurgaon Updated: May 30, 2017 23:29 IST
Abhishek Behl
Abhishek Behl
Hindustan Times
Latin America,Amigas Latinas,DLF phase 1
Members of the group, Amigas Latinas, distributed food, water and clothes, to those affected by the Monday morning fire.(Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

A photo of the fire at the DLF Phase 1 slum sent by expat Maayan Gutgold to a community group brought the city’s Latin American expatriate community together to help the victims.

Led by Emely Turner from Venezuela, eight to 10 members of the group Amigas Latinas, on Tuesday visited the area and distributed home-cooked food, biscuits, juice, water and a large number of clothes among the fire victims.

Over 100 shanties were gutted in the early hours of Monday after a fire broke out in one of them. Six-year-old Farman from Bareilly was killed in the incident that affected over 500 residents of this 40-year-old slum on land belonging to Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG).

“I sent a picture to the Amigas Latinas group as I wanted to know more about the incident, but one of our members, Emely Turner, came here on Monday night and was shocked by the situation. She decided to mobilise expats from Latin American countries living in Gurgaon and Delhi to help people,” said Gutgold.

There are 35 members in the Amigas Latinas group hailing from Argentina, Mexico and Paraguay. The group also includes some Israelis married to expats from these countries.

Turner, whose husband works in a Gurgaon-based MNC, mobilised the community effort. She said that a majority of the expats live on Golf Course Road and have been here for four to five years. The consider themselves part of this city, she added.

“I love this city and when I saw fellow citizens suffering like this we decided to pool money, food and clothes. This is our way to give back to the community and tell them that we are with them in the hour of need,” Turner said.

Maria Consuelo Arrubia, wife of the Colombian consul in India, was also part of the group that had come to the aid of the fire victims.

Natasha and Liav Shamriz from Israel, who are both members of Amigas Latinas, said they were inspired by the resilience of the people despite the hardships.

“We are making a small effort, but it is a message of friendship. In times of crisis we are all one humanity,” said Thenny Mejia, Amigas Latinas members and a Gurgaon resident.

The expats, who came in over five cars loaded with goods and clothes, were soon surrounded by hundreds of slum residents. However, the group managed to maintain order and distributed food only when everyone sat in a queue.

“There were some hiccups, but the response was good,” said Gutgold, whose 10-year old son Oz also participated in the effort.

Raquel Ribas from Portugal, who has been living in Gurgaon for five years, said that they would continue such initiatives as it helps integrate with the community and be a real part of the city.

Members of the district Red Cross society, led by secretary Shyam Sunder, facilitated the group in distributing the material.

First Published: May 30, 2017 23:29 IST