While Morocco has been helping countries to repatriate foreign nationals stranded in the country, 18,000 Moroccan citizens abroad are waiting for a chance to return to their homeland.
Rabat – Qatar has joined the US, the UK, and Belgium in thanking Moroccan authorities for facilitating the repatriation of its stranded citizens with a special evacuation flight.
On April 19, the Qatari Embassy in Rabat shared a statement on its Twitter account, announcing that it repatriated its citizens through a Qatari Airlines flight from the Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca to Doha.
“The repatriation operation was in collaboration with Moroccan authorities in good conditions in line with all preventive measures to guarantee the safety of returnees,” the embassy said.
— Qatar Embassy_Rabat (@QatarEmb_Rabat) April 19, 2020
The statement concluded with a note to express thanks for Morocco’s help and consideration in facilitating the repatriation operation.
Morocco and Qatar maintain a strong relationship with both countries vowing to further boost cooperation in all fields.
The repatriation flight to Doha is in line with the assistance that Morocco’s government pledged after suspending all international flights on March 15.
Since the suspension of maritime and air travel, the country has helped several countries, facilitating the repatriation of stranded citizens.
Belgium, the UK, and the US have all thanked Morocco for its efforts to assist their diaspora communities and stranded tourists.
The North African country, which is currently in lockdown that will continue until May 20, intensified measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic that has so far killed 143 in Morocco.
The country has reported 2,990 infections to date.
Despite the measures in place, Morocco received criticism for not acting quickly to repatriate its citizens stranded abroad.
Minister Delegate in Charge of Moroccans Residing Abroad (MREs) Nezha El Ouafi estimated the number of Moroccan citizens stranded in foreign countries at 18,000.
The situation is intensifying as the holy month of Ramadan–an important time for family gathering–is just around the corner.
El Ouafi vowed that the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working to help its citizens return, but has not yet revealed any special plans to evacuate Moroccans from the countries where they are stranded.
The ministry, however, continues to emphasize that it has been mobilizing all consulates and embassies to assist the Moroccan diaspora and stranded tourists with all necessary means.
Since the outbreak of the virus, the embassies abroad have created crisis units to receive Moroccans’ concerns. Embassies also pledged financial help to cover funeral costs for Moroccans who died of COVID-19 abroad without Islamic burial insurance or the financial means to provide an appropriate burial.