Only 12,000 Nepalis stranded abroad to be evacuated in first phase

The number of Nepalis willing to return home urgently is declining

Kathmandu, June 22

The government stated today that it would evacuate only around 12,000 stranded Nepalis from different countries in the first phase.

Though the government had earlier planned to initially repatriate 30,000 Nepalis stranded abroad, it has now adopted a policy of bringing in 12,000 Nepalis who need immediate rescue and gradually bring other people on priority basis.

Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, said 12,000 stranded Nepalis would be evacuated by June 30 through a total of 80 chartered flights. According to him, other stranded Nepalis will be rescued in the second phase based on priority and the recommendation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Officials at MoFA said not all those on the priority list of the government needed to be evacuated urgently as the lockdown had been eased across several countries.

“As several countries have eased the lockdown and business activities have resumed, the number of Nepalis willing to return home urgently is declining,” said a source at MoFA.

However, the official said the government would continue to rescue Nepalis based on necessity and priority.

The MoFA had initially developed a priority list of 24,148 Nepalis from 30 countries who needed to be evacuated with due priority immediately.

As per MoCTCA, the government has so far repatriated almost 5,500 Nepalis stranded abroad on dozens of chartered flights. Today alone, the government repatriated 698 stranded Nepalis from different destinations via five chartered flights.

The government has also brought back 40 bodies of Nepalis on chartered flights conducted in the past two weeks. The government has also repatriated more than 4,000 foreigners stranded in Nepal following the lockdown, Adhikari added.

The government is also preparing to resume both domestic and international flights from the beginning of August.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 23, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.