At the beginning of the year, the unprecedented Covid 19 pandemic posed great challenges as many people lost their lives, got infected and some stranded in foreign lands. In particular, thousands of European citizens in Kenya were in need of special assistance as they were separated from their families for months due to strict travel restrictions placed globally to try and prevent the spread of the pandemic. In Kenya, there were travel restrictions across counties and there were no flights out of the country.
Despite the challenges, with great cooperation and solidarity between the EU Member States and The EU Delegation to Kenya, many EU citizens were repatriated to Europe safely.
Together with Embassies, we mobilised chartered flights to repatriate citizens back home. We encouraged the stranded Europeans to reach out to their embassies to get further information on forthcoming help. We reached out to the local authorities on getting special permits for the stranded citizens to cross through counties.
We successfully organised several flights including an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Frankfurt via Addis Ababa with over 200 EU citizens and non-EU citizens from Canada, Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia.
The Ambassador to The Kingdom of Netherlands, Kenya, Somalia and Seychelles also commended the work done by the #TeamEurope to successfully transport reparation flights to Europe and appreciated the cooperation with airlines like KLM that assisted in transporting hundreds of EU Citizens to Amsterdam.
The Deputy Head of Delegation in Nairobi, Katrin Hagemann also shared some of her highlights stating that it was fulfilling seeing the EU Delegation solve concrete cases of reuniting family members. She reminisces one case where four unaccompanied refugee minors aged 5 -11 were assisted and got to go back home to their mother. And another of a pregnant lady who was already 28 weeks but she managed to travel on an odyssey four-day trip to her husband.
Here is what she had to say:
Our tremendous efforts enabled the repatriations of about 600,000 stranded EU citizens globally and successfully completed a hefty mission.