Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Heart-warming moment German mum is reunited with daughter in Abu Dhabi after a month

The UAE Embassy in Berlin and the German Embassy in Abu Dhabi stepped in to help the family

A seven-year-old German girl has been reunited with her parents in Abu Dhabi after spending nearly a month away from them because of border closures.

Godiva Gaertke was brought back to the UAE from Frankfurt on a special Emirates airline flight Monday night.

She had been with her grandparents and other relatives since March 8 and was to return home on March 22.

But Germany closed its borders on March 16 and two days later the UAE suspended entry of residents to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Her mum, Viktoria Gaertke, said she was torn after several unsuccessful attempts to bring her daughter back.

The UAE Embassy in Berlin and the German Embassy in Abu Dhabi stepped in to help the family.

Godiva returned home after a month in Germany and received a warm welcome by her mother and the airline staff. Courtesy - Viktoria Gaertke
Godiva returned home after a month in Germany and received a warm welcome by her mother and the airline staff. Courtesy - Viktoria Gaertke

“We are so happy she’s back. She’s a brave little girl and we were so stressed with not knowing when she’d be able to return. We are so thankful to the authorities for helping us,” Ms Gaertke said.

Godiva travelled to Germany via the Holiday Europe airline and had an adult with her.

It was a case where a child needed to get back to her mum and we needed to do as much as possible

Hafsa Al Ulama

Ms Gaertke registered her daughter’s case on the Twajudi platform, a service by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.

The new service helps residents with valid visas to register and request for a permit to enter the UAE in emergency situations.

“She went to Frankfurt on a holiday to see her grandparents and we knew that she was completely safe and in trusted hands while she was there,” Ms Gaertke said.

“But I am her mother and she needs me and we need her. I’m grateful that she’s back.”

Hafsa Al Ulama, the UAE ambassador to Germany, said it was a joint effort between the two countries to reunite Godiva with her parents.

Godiva and her mum Viktoria Gaertke pose for the cameras at the Dubai International Airport. Courtesy - Viktoria Gaertke
Godiva and her mum Viktoria Gaertke pose for the cameras at the Dubai International Airport. Courtesy - Viktoria Gaertke

“I was talking to the German ambassador to the UAE and we were discussing how to support German and UAE citizens during these difficult times,” she said.

“One of the cases was of Godiva, who was stranded in Germany and she was supposed to get back to her mum in Abu Dhabi.

“It was a case where a child needed to get back to her mum and we needed to do as much as possible.”

Ms Al Ulama also thanked Emirates airline for its efforts.

On March 28, MoFAIC said 29,000 UAE residents were stranded abroad.

UAE officials have been working to find solutions for people left stranded after travel and border restrictions were imposed to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Immigration authorities, police, consular officials and Emirates airline are helping dozens of UAE residents left stranded overseas after passenger flights were suspended.

Updated: April 7, 2020 06:22 PM

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