No rescue operation of stranded foreigners from today: NTB

Kathmandu, April 3: The government has said that it will no longer rescue the stranded foreigners outside the Kathmandu valley from Saturday due to the nationwide lockdown.

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), which had been carrying out rescue operations of stranded foreigners throughout the country since almost two weeks, said that the rescue process will be halted from Saturday based on the previous decision of the government to carry out rescue missions only till Friday (today). This means that remaining stranded foreigners across different parts of the country will have to remain there until the lockdown is over and things get back to normal.

However, all those foreigners who have already been evacuated and brought to Kathmandu can go home if their governments make arrangements for their return. “Tourists who are in Kathmandu can go back if their governments arrange chartered flights. But those who are outside Kathmandu have to stay wherever they are till the lockdown ends,” informed Dhananjaya Regmi, chief executive officer of NTB.

In the past 10 days, NTB has rescued 1,708 foreigners from across the country and brought them to Kathmandu.

While many of them have returned to their home countries after their governments arranged chartered flights, some are still awaiting for repatriation from Nepal.

Countries including the United States, the Netherlands, France and Australia have already rescued a majority of their citizens in Nepal through chartered flights recently. As per NTB, different European nations have already chartered three aircraft of Qatar Airways to evacuate their citizens from Nepal.

Countries like Austria and the Czech Republic are in the process of evacuating their citizens via chartered flight of Malaysian Airlines while the Malaysian government is rescuing its citizens from Nepal through a chartered flight of Malindo Air on Saturday.

Similarly, the United States is conducting second repatriation flight to evacuate its citizens from Nepal on Sunday through Qatar Airways, as per the US Embassy in Nepal.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 04, 2020 of the Himalayan Times.