On March 18th, the State Department urged Americans overseas to try and return to the United States or shelter in place abroad. However, many international flights were cancelled by that point, leaving Americans abroad with few options.
Over 30,000 Americans are stranded abroad and the State Department struggles to repatriate them amid … [+]
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Ian Brownlee, who runs the State Department’s repatriation task force, told NPR that the department’s efforts are “unprecedented.” Military aircraft are being used with the State Department looking to the Defense Department for help with lining up aircraft.
According to a private security company that is assisting with repatriation efforts, Morocco, Spain, Mexico, UAE, New Zealand, Kenya and Israel are the next countries where flights will be sent for Americans.
But for many, the State Departments warning came too late as the world’s borders had already begun to close.
“I don’t know how the State Department screws up that bad, but it was comical at first, I was laughing,” said Ronald Coleman, an American stranded in Peru, to Foreign Policy in an interview. “And then I think about it and immediately my confidence dropped in how they’re handling it and how organized they are in handling this effort.”