Gov’t to evacuate over 2,400 stranded Ghanaians by end of June

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Government is set to evacuate over 2,400 stranded Ghanaians from across the world by the end of June after some 230 Ghanaians were brought home from Kuwait last month.

According to her, government has taken a decision to begin the process of evacuating Ghanaians in other parts of the world back home.

This, she said, follows an alert by the World Health Organization (WHO) that COVID-19 is likely to remain a global public health issue until a vaccine is developed.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, disclosed these during question time in Parliament.

Stranded Ghanaians

She explained that the decision was also informed by data gathered by Diplomatic Missions abroad on the categories of Ghanaians who have been stranded.

She said, “To ensure a well-coordinated evacuation exercise, government has decided to take the exercise in phases.”

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“This decision was informed by financial and logistical consideration including the capacity of isolation centers to hold large numbers of evacuees and human resource capacity of the National COVID-19 Task Force.”

She indicated that the stranded persons have been categorized into those with ability to pay for the process, those on government fund evacuations, distressed persons and deportees.

The evacuations

Ms. Ayorkor Botchwey disclosed that between June 4 and 6, chartered flights from various nations including Nigeria, Mauritania, the US, and Burkina Faso arrived in Ghana with a total of 80 returnees.

“Between 17th June and 28th June there will be 435 arrivals from London, 299 from New York and 300 for Washington DC,” she disclosed.

“Negotiations are currently underway between our Beijing Mission and Ethiopian Airlines for the evacuation of some 675 Stranded Ghanaians in China.”

“Our Mission in Abu Dhabi has also initiated discussions with the UAE authorities for the evacuation of over 500 of our nationals who are stranded in that country.”

“The Ministry is also in discussion with the Scholarship Secretariat and the National COVID-19 Task Force to finalize arrangements to evacuate 141 Ghanaian students who completed their language proficiency course in Benin last month using STC buses on 13th June,” she added

The Minister disclosed that arrangements are also being made to evacuate compatriots in other countries including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Kenya, Ethiopia and Switzerland.

She explained, however, that priority would be given to urgent evacuation requests that require minimal government intervention such as pre-arranged charter flights seeking landing clearance from the government.

Frontpageghana.com/Ghana/By Uthman A. Marani

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