Appeal to help stranded truckers
Manama, October 30, 2011
An appeal has gone out for volunteers to help stranded truckers, who are waiting for days just to cross over the border to Saudi Arabia.
Former communications executive Tanya Lunn is ready to put together a team to aid drivers who often have no food, toilets or other basic facilities.
The British housewife was moved after reading about their plight in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister newspaper.
"I would be glad to help in whichever way I can or if help is needed, I would happily volunteer," she told the the newspaper yesterday.
"If help is needed to distribute food and water to these drivers on a daily basis then I will gladly give it. Though it is a huge job, someone ought to be doing it."
The GDN reported last week that drivers were camping in open grounds and on roadsides in several areas lining the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Highway, leading up to the King Fahad Causeway.
Trucks are taking up to four days to make the border crossing, allegedly because of delays caused by Saudi Customs officials.
The drivers were queuing on the highway, but were ordered to park up elsewhere by traffic officials after an American driver was killed in an accident on the causeway on Monday. The drivers are now living at makeshift truck stops near the highway.
Lunn spent yesterday visiting drivers camped out at different locations to inspect the situation on the ground. Her initiative has already won the backing of the Migrant Workers Protection Society, which has also pledged to help.
"We will see what we can do and assist," its action committee head Marietta Dias said yesterday. "It will be a massive task by any means, so we will need volunteers' help as well."
Meanwhile, hundreds of truckers continued to rough it yesterday - some of them having already spent four days on the road. "I have been having a tough time for the last four days and have not moved an inch," a Filipino driver told the GDN on condition of anonymity.
"By the looks of it, I will be here for another few days." He said he was carrying a cargo of cheese bound for Dammam.
"I am sure it is spoilt already, even though I have a refrigerated truck," he added. "We are trying to get priority access, but no one is listening."
He said he returned to his accommodation last night to get food for himself and some other drivers.
Another driver, an Indian, said he had run out of food, water and fuel. "I have contacted my company and they have promised assistance," he said. "Even if I get a chance to move now, I cannot since I have no fuel left."
He had been at the same spot for four days. "I have a lot of fruit and it already smells," he said. "This is unbearable."
Anyone able to help drivers should contact Lunn on 39498565 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org -TradeArabia News Service