Morocco authorized the departure of nearly 100 stranded tourists on repatriation flights, but did not implement similar measures for its own citizens stranded abroad.
Rabat – After repatriation operations for stranded tourists in Morocco came to a halt, US authorities and their Moroccan counterparts further coordinated and arranged a repatriation flight for a number of American citizens on Saturday.
The US Embassy in Rabat announced on its Facebook page that the 10th flight to repatriate Americans departed from Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport at 3 p.m. on April 11.
The embassy expressed gratitude to Moroccan authorities, including the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) and the Moroccan Airports Authority (ONDA), for their cooperation to ensure the repatriation operation’s success.
Since Morocco decided to suspend all international flights on March 15, thousands of European and American tourists have found themselves stranded in Moroccan cities and airports.
In the wake of the decision, Morocco announced that it would collaborate with other countries to ensure the repatriation of their citizens through special flights.
Morocco has subsequently authorized nearly 100 special flights to return thousands of tourists to their home countries, but authorities neglected to arrange similar repatriation operations for Moroccans stranded abroad.
Moroccan consulates worldwide are in direct contact with stranded Moroccan tourists to provide them with accommodations and services.
On April 10, Moroccan Ambassador to Spain Karima Benyaich announced that she coordinated efforts with the Moroccan consulates in Spain to provide appropriate support to 1,700 stranded Moroccans.
In Turkey, the Moroccan consulate announced that it has accommodated over 1,000 Moroccans in several hotels in Istanbul.
There are many more Moroccans stranded abroad, but statistics regarding their number and their geographical dispersal are not yet available.
A number of Moroccan citizens have sent out distress calls to authorities, asking for repatriation, but their government has taken no publicized action to address their demands to date.
Meanwhile, Dutch tourists stranded in Morocco have lashed out at their country, saying that it has abandoned them.
The stranded Dutchmen wrote an open letter in Dutch, French, and Arabic denouncing their government’s poor response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Days after publishing the complaint, the Dutch government blamed Morocco for not allowing its citizens to gain home. Dutch media outlet HLN estimates that 3,000 Dutch tourists are currently stranded in Morocco.