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Stranded Europeans plea for help getting home amid COVID-19 pandemic

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By Trent Murray
Stranded Europeans plea for help getting home amid COVID-19 pandemic
Copyright  AFP
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European travellers stuck abroad have told Euronews they need more help trying to get home.

As the coronavirus pandemic worsens in a number of nations, desperate passengers are trying to return to their countries of origin. But with borders closing and airlines grounding flights, it’s an increasingly difficult task.

Irish traveller Stephen Meehan is currently stuck in Peru and said he wasn’t yet sure how he could return to Dublin.

“They told me that the borders were closing. We went to the airport and we were greeted with cops in full riot gear and the army who didn’t seem to have any issue points guns at people,” he said.

“We made every effort to leave, we were not given enough time, this is no fault of our own. You can’t leave the city, we are stuck and all we want to do is go home.”

For others, it’s a desperate time with family members still stuck abroad. Victoria Tuckman from the United Kingdom said her daughter was struggling to find a way home from Australia.

“She should have been flying back from Australia via Abu Dhabi but all the flights have been cancelled and now her and her friend are stranded in Melbourne,” she said.

“About six of us spent hours trawling through the internet looking at flights from every city in Australia to every city in the UK via all over the world and we couldn’t find any flights at all. The only one I’ve managed to find now costs £14,300 for the two of them.”

Since speaking to Euronews, she has found a flight for her daughter and her friend flying through Doha at a cost of £2700 one-way which is due to depart on Saturday. But with airlines increasingly cancelling flights, often at the last minute, it’s a nervous wait until the flight actually lands on British soil.

With less commercials flight options available for Europeans stuck overseas, there are calls for the EU to increase the number of government-backed rescue flights to help stranded citizens get home to their loved ones.