Nepalis stranded abroad to be evacuated


Kathmandu, May 29

The government has finally decided to start evacuating vulnerable Nepalis, including migrant workers who have been stranded in countries other than India.

A meeting of the High-Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 today passed the working guideline on rescuing vulnerable Nepalis and decided to start bringing such citizens on priority basis as soon as possible, Narayan Prasad Bidari, member secretary of the committee, told THT.

“An action matrix on how to bring home stranded Nepalis from foreign countries was prepared and passed by the committee today and a decision was taken to soon start evacuating them,” added Bidari.

As per the guideline, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will collect details of the vulnerable Nepalis stranded abroad through Nepal’s embassies and missions in different nations within 10 days. Thereafter, the government will start evacuating them on priority basis.

Meanwhile, Canberra-based Nepal’s Embassy in Australia has started registration of stranded Nepalis in the country. However, the embassy said returnee Nepalis should bear the flight and quarantine cost on their own and submit documents that prove they are not infected with coronavirus.

The government plans to evacuate 25,000 vulnerable Nepalis stranded in foreign lands in the first phase, which is likely to begin in the third week of June.

According to Bidari, the government will evacuate such Nepalis via flights of Nepal Airlines, while aircraft of other Nepali airline companies and chartered flights of international airline companies will also be used, if necessary.

As per the working guideline, returnee Nepalis will be kept in quarantine in Kathmandu for two weeks. After that, they will be sent to their respective hometowns under supervision of the provincial and local governments.

Returnee Nepalis will get two quarantine options — hotel quarantine and public quarantine. While those who want to stay in hotels must book their rooms in Kathmandu in advance and fulfil all financial liabilities on their own, the government will bear the quarantine cost of all those preferring to stay in public quarantine.

The high-level committee has also set 20 specific entry points for Nepalis entering the country from India via land route. These entry points include Pashupatinagar, Kakadbhitta, Sunauli, Malangawa, Gaur, Birgunj, Belahiya, Krishnanagar, Gaurifanta and Jhulaghat.

Evacuation on priority basis

Top priority will be given to evacuate Nepalis stranded abroad who are most vulnerable. They include:

  • Those who have been granted amnesty
  • Those whose visas have expired
  • Those who have been staying in repatriation centres
  • Those who have already received permission to return home
  • Those who have lost relatives in Nepal or need to return for attending last rites and other such functions in the memory of the departed
  • Those who have lost their jobs
A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 30, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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