Tags: Coronavirus | Travel | americans abroad | state department

State Department Slammed; 13,500 Remain Stranded Abroad

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(AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 24 March 2020 10:41 AM

The State Department has come under fire for so far failing to bring home more than 13,500 stranded American citizens abroad who need help retuning to the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, The Hill reported on Tuesday.

The State Department already successfully brought home more than 5,000 Americans from 17 countries during the crisis and has vowed to return thousands more in the coming days and weeks.

But  former State Department officials say the effort has been harmed by the decrease in recent years of career foreign service officers in senior level positions who had the experience needed to deal with the current situation.

State Department policy is to have American citizens search out all commercial travel options before chartered evacuation flights can be considered. But this is easier said than done, as many countries have suddenly canceled flights and closed their borders in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Particularly frustrating for many of the Americans abroad in need of help has been unanswered phone calls and emails directed to the State Department, especially as other nations have managed to get out their citizens, according to The Hill.

However, some of the stranded U.S. citizens have said political leaders have been more quick to respond and appear to be genuinely trying to help them.

The State Department has been focusing efforts on those Americans in places of higher risk of contracting the coronavirus or those running out of critical medications or food, according to ABC News.

However, a senior official said they cannot promise they will reach every American.

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The State Department has come under fire for so far failing to bring home more than 13,500 stranded American citizens abroad who need help retuning to the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, The Hill reported on Tuesday.
americans abroad, state department
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2020-41-24
Tuesday, 24 March 2020 10:41 AM
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