Pakistani taxi drivers provide free rides to Spanish health workers
According to a news report, 195 Pakistanis in Barcelona provide free rides to healthcare workers in the city.
The initiative started in mid-March at the start of Spain’s lockdown, as six Pakistani taxi drivers led by Shahbaz Ahmed, a local taxi driver, debated how medical staff should be able to return to their homes at night.
They have since extended their efforts to about 200 people, including some drivers from other nationalities.
They began exchanging their contact information with hospitals and coordinated plans to cover the city center and more distant facilities, such as the Can Ruti Hospital.
“Medical staff work too many hours and we saw that they were going to their jobs using public transport,” said Asim Gondal, a driver volunteering his services.Al Jazeera
“For this reason, as they are working on the frontline for humanity, we began this service also to save them more time and, in this way, they don’t spend it on public transport.”
According to the Spanish Statistical Office, about 43,000 Pakistanis live in Barcelona, and almost 89,000 in Spain overall.
In addition to the inititative of taxi drivers, the local Pakistani group has stepped in to assist over the past two weeks.
Grocery store owners have converted industrial warehouses into spaces that can be used by taxi drivers to coordinate delivery of food parcels to homeless people and poor families.
At the Catalan Islamic Cultural Centre, hundreds of masks and robes for medical staff are being sewn together at a rate.
After the start of the disease, more than 15,000 people have died from coronavirus in Spain and overall there have been more than 152,000 cases.