Colaba fire: African students' tickets to home, passports burnt in blaze

40 students from Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, who were staying in Metro House building in Colaba before taking flights back home, lost everything in the fire

“I don’t know what to do, where to spend the night or how to go home,” said 21-year-old Eltigani, a Sudanese national, who was staying in Regal Hotel in Metro House building when the fire broke out yesterday and had to leave his room without his passport, ticket to Sudan and other documents.

In pictures: Fire engulfs commercial area in Colaba, Mumbai

Adam asks cops to help him
Adam asks cops to help him

Like him, 40 other foreign students from Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia were staying in various hotels in the building are now left without a belonging.

Eltigani, a Sudanese boy, who was going to catch a flight to home on Saturday but now doesn’t have his passport
Eltigani, a Sudanese boy, who was going to catch a flight to home on Saturday but now doesn’t have his passport

Eltigani, who is pursuing computer science from a college in Hyderabad, had come to Mumbai on Wednesday to board to flight to Sudan from here on Saturday. “Flights from Hyderabad are expensive so we usualy come to Mumbai to catch our flight to Sudan. When I heard a knock on my door, I came out without taking any document or even clothes. In fact, I haven’t even told my parents about this fire as they will be worried for me,” he said.

Trapped in a similar situation was Adam, another Sudanese, who is enrolled in a Hyderabad college. He came to the city on Sunday to catch a flight to Sudan next Monday and was put up in Sabana Hotel. “When I told police that I had lost all the documents, they asked me to come the next day. But where will I stay tonight? All my certificates, passport, reports are gone in the fire,” said Adam while crying for help.

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When the fire broke out yesterday evening, all students rushed out of their rooms and in the hurry to save themselves, they forgot everything behind. Many of them ran out barefoot.

Hussain, a 24-year-old Somalian studying in Hyderabad, wasn’t as unlucky. “I grabbed my backpack on my way out but that doesn’t have much either. A lot of my documents are still inside,” he said.

While others got a chance to escape the fire before it became huge, Sanhoroi, from Sudan, too, had to be rescued. “I am from Africa and had come to India for some official work. I have to go back home tomorrow, but my passport is inside. I was staying on the first floor in Hotel Real Plaza. I am thankful to the Indians who safely rescued me.”

— Inputs by Shikha Vatsala

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