The official said that there is a “roadmap ready” to eventually address the concerns of nationals stranded abroad.
During a parliament session at the House of Councilors on Tuesday, May 19, the official said the number of Moroccans stranded abroad had reached 31,819.
He recalled the measures set up at Morocco’s embassies and consulates abroad to assist the stranded compatriots, emphasizing that there is a roadmap in place to facilitate their return once the government decides to proceed.
El Othmani failed to address the questions of thousands of citizens who shared their challenges due to the closed borders on social media. He did so in a rambling speech and offered no solid new information, failing to mention a specific date to begin repatriation operations.
The head of government evasively said that the list of stranded Moroccans includes parliamentarians and high officials.
He added that “there are continuous meetings to examine all steps that enable the return of Moroccans stranded abroad.
Government officials have been repeating the same remarks when they receive messages or concerns from Moroccans stuck abroad.
Moroccans launched an online campaign urging the government to bring them back home.
Several stranded tourists appeared in a video posted on social media, saying that Morocco forgot about them. Concerned Moroccans also launched the hashtag #bring_us_home to call on their government for support.
The stranded tourists already spent the holy month of Ramadan — when family gatherings are most common — away from their families.
Morocco extended its state of emergency for another three weeks on May 18. The country will continue its lockdown until June 10, which will make the lives of the stranded tourists even harder as they will be unable to spend Eid Al-Fitr with their families.
The lack of an immediate solution to end the struggles of Moroccan stranded abroad garnered the attention of local and international media. Some of these media have criticized the government for facilitating the return of stranded foreign tourists while thousands of Moroccans remain stranded.
Earlier this month, Spanish news agency EFE criticized the lack of a clear response to the requests of thousands of stranded Moroccans in distress.
As of May 12, Morocco had helped 84,449 stranded tourists to return home through the provision of 532 special flights, according to the Spanish news outlet.
Sources told EFE that flights continue to depart from Casablanca’s airport and Marrakech Menara Airport.
The same sources said flights have been departing the Casablanca airport at a sustained rate to repatriate the foreign tourists.
“The flights, despite their exceptional nature, leave ‘practically every day,’” the sources claimed.
They further explained that French flag carrier Air France managed to organize 160 flights to repatriate 29,000 French nationals from Morocco.
The UK managed to secure 55 flights transporting 9,000 stranded tourists, 80% of whom were British nationals. The flights also repatriated Australians and other foreign citizens.
The US repatriated 2,000 of its own through 13 flights, while Canada organized three flights to repatriate 1,300 nationals.
Other countries that repatriated their compatriots from Morocco include Russia (463 individuals), Kuwait (400), Spain (360), Turkey (277), Brazil (203), Tunisia (157), Egypt (98), UAE (57), and Qatar (80).