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Stranded in Ghana: Hundreds of Americans Say U.S. Is Failing to Bring Them Home Months Into Pandemic
Hundreds of U.S. citizens are reportedly stranded in Ghana with no word on when they will come back home.
Ghana’s president closed the borders indefinitely and halted all flights into and out of the country on March 13 in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Nova Felder of Queens flew from New York to Ghana back in March. What was supposed to be a 17-day trip in the country where his parents were born has turned into a more than four-month stay.
Felder currently represents a group of a few hundred Americans stranded in Ghana from the states – many he says are in dire situations.
“I think there isn’t any urgency on behalf of the State Department to get us back,” he told NY1 during an interview.
Felder said that he knows of four charter flights arranged by the U.S. Embassy in Ghana since April to evacuate U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents. According to Felder, the flights were arranged last minute and sold out quickly as there was more demand than supply.
He’s asking for help and urging people to sign a petition to the US Embassy Ghana and The State Department to assist with helping those stranded.
“Most of us marooned here in Ghana have no income to speak of and are dealing with the financial pressures of life here as well as in the United States,” a section of the letter reads.
Felder adds, “Many are facing evictions from their apartments and foreclosures on their homes back in the United States. Some are facing being let go from their jobs.
“It is impossible for us to get most financial benefits such as Unemployment from the U.S. because of current laws governing such programs and restrict you from participating because you are in a foreign locale. All of us stranded here have financial obligations in both countries, a few of us are on the verge of being homeless as of now at home and abroad.
“We can not afford further hotel fees and barely have enough money for our dietary needs. There is also an air of being exploited financially through scams and other unsavory happenings because of our situation. A few of us have experienced this.”
Meanwhile, The State Department says on its website that there have been seven repatriation flights from Ghana – a number far fewer than from many other countries. There have been 45 repatriation flights from India, 60 from the Dominican Republic, and 99 from Honduras since June 10, as NY1 reported.