Emergency flights for tens of thousands stranded in S.Asia

Thousands of tourists and trekkers are stranded in far-flung areas of Nepal(AFP/File)  

KATHMANDU AFP March27, 2020 –   Foreign governments on Friday stepped up operations to evacuate tens of thousands of tourists stranded by the coronavirus pandemic in remote locations across South Asia from Everest base camp to beach hotels in Sri Lanka.   

A plane chartered by Berlin took 304 people out of Kathmandu in the first of a series of flights aiming to ferry more than 10,000 people from Nepal.   

Almost 17,000 tourists are stuck in Sri Lanka while tens of thousands of travellers and expatriates are in India, according to authorities in the two countries.   

All have cut or virtually halted international flights over the past week in a bid to halt the coronavirus spread.   

Rajan Pokhrel, director general of Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority, told AFP. Nepal’s government estimates about 10,000 people — from Europe, Australia, South Korea, the United States and India — are in far-flung places across the Himalayan nation that halted all international flights last weekend.

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