France, US among other nations to evacuate 14,000 stranded in India

The US, France, Germany and other countries are engaged in hectic efforts to evacuate close to 14,000 of their nationals stranded in India following the suspension of commercial flights around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

France and the US are hopeful of organising the first flights for their citizens by the end of this week, people familiar with developments said on Friday. There are nearly 2,000 French tourists stranded in the country while hundreds of American travellers are waiting to fly out, the people said on condition of anonymity.

Russia has close to 8,000 tourists in the country, mostly in Goa, while more than 450 were evacuated on Wednesday. Japan, Malaysia and Ukraine have also operated special flights to fly out hundreds of their nationals.

About 1,500 Israeli nationals have been evacuated in six flights from New Delhi, Mumbai and Goa since March 21. Two flights – one operated by Air India and another by El Al – with about 600 Israeli citizens took off from New Delhi on Thursday night.

An alert posted on the US embassy’s website on Friday said efforts by the state department and airlines to arrange flights from India “are making progress”, with “initial flights most likely to depart New Delhi and Mumbai”.

“We will seek to facilitate travel from other cities in India as flights become available,” the alert said, adding US citizens should ensure their travel documents were up to date and be prepared to depart at short notice.

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