British nationals stranded on the continent are despairing at the lack of information – and options -available to them.
The government has deployed a naval ship to pick up soldiers and civilians stuck in northern Spain, but many people have had their hopes dashed on arrival at the docks in Santander.
“I am just basically trying to get home on a boat or a ferry or maybe that British naval ship will take us home but their priority is to get their troops on,” said one man.
“They are coming home from Afghanistan and so it is a priority to get the lads home first because they need to get home to their wives and families.”
Many people were feeling frustrated at the lack of help they were recieving and felt that the British government’s reassurances were simply empty words.
“I think if you asked anybody here they would all say the same, they feel let down, hugely disappointed, when the government is saying that they are doing all they can to get us home. Here is a classic example when we could have said, yes, well done Gordon Brown etc, you’ve done a really good job but in actual fact we feel really let down at the minute,” said a woman trying to get back to the UK.
Embassy staff are on hand to help but are struggling to cope with the sheer number of people trying to find solutions.
More than a hundred coaches have been provided to try and help clear the backlog of passengers stranded in Madrid.
“It’s a very difficult situation, the best advice that we are giving people is that they try to make their way to northern France, where there are more ships and there are naval ships helping out as well, where there is a lot of capacity returning from northern France back to the UK,” said a government representative.
Spain has been designated as a hub for British passengers trying to get back to the UK from Asia and the Americas… but for those stuck there, it still feels a long way from home.