Qatar flights suspension: Thousands of Filipinos resort to panic buying food, supplies

Emirates, Etihad, FlyDubai, Air Arabia and Saudi Airlines suspended their flights to and from Qatar.

Picture for representation
Picture for representation Reuters

Thousands of Filipinos in Qatar have resorted to panic buying in different grocery stores upon learning that neighbouring Arab countries suspended their air transportation services to Qatar on suspicion that it is supporting ISIS militants.

Economic disturbance has become more evident when regional airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, FlyDubai, Air Arabia and Saudi Airlines suspended their flights to and from Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain jointly severed their diplomatic relations with Qatar that adversely affected the air transport industry. The Philippines media also reported that the situation is causing a diplomatic crisis.

The recent suspension of transport links caused the shortage of food supply that led Filipinos into panic buying. Philippine government records show there are 220,000 Filipinos in Qatar working as skilled and professional workers and their remittance have been benefitting Filipino families back home and their skills are also helping Qatar's economy.

The Philippine embassy in Qatar also appealed to Filipinos to stay calm and observe prudence as it continues to monitor the situation.

ABS CBN online also reported that grocery shelves in in commercial centre became empty and they are certain as to when these shelves will be replenished since 80% of Qatar's food supply come from neighboring Middle East countries.

Moreover, the Iran government said this tension will eventually have adverse effect on middle east and Western countries.

Qatar also has the fourth biggest Filipino population in the Middle East, followed by Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Kuwait, according to statistics released from the Philippine government.

According to the Philippine Statistics Qatar is also becoming one of the most preferred work destinations among young Filipinos because of its pays workers better compared to other Middle East countries.

Qatar is a nation of 2.5 million with a US military base and the Qatar government has been denying reports that it is supporting militants.

US President Donald Trump earlier visited Riyadh calling on Middle East countries to unite and combat extremism.