‘It’s a shambles’ - Norwich woman slams government’s efforts to bring British travellers home

Katie Fielder who is currently stuck in Goa, unable to catch a flight home sincethe country went int

Katie Fielder who is currently stuck in Goa, unable to catch a flight home sincethe country went into a 21-day lockdown. Picture: Katie Fielder - Credit: Archant

A Norwich woman who is stranded in India has said she feels utterly disappointed by the government’s efforts to bring British citizens who are stuck overseas home.

On Monday, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary announced a £75 million plan to fly tens of thousands of British travellers home who have become stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, he said: “Under the arrangements that we are putting in place we will target flights from a range of priority countries, starting this week.”

In his announcement, Mr Raab said priority would be given to the most vulnerable, including the elderly or those with pressing medical needs, and also to countries where there are large numbers of British tourists trying to return to the UK.

But Katie Fielder, 53, from Norwich, who is stuck in Goa, on the western coast of India, said Mr Raab’s announcement sounded more like a promise made in a campaign speech rather than action.

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She said: “It sounds like a PR or run up to election speech. Why else would he mention £75 million, [It’s] headline grabbing.”

Ms Fielder arrived in Goa on March 13, she was due to return home on March 28 but following government and FCO advice made several unsuccessful attempts to fly home earlier.

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Now, she is stranded in India, living in a beach hut and struggling to find fresh food and water.

Ms Fielder, said: “I’m upset, furious, disappointed.

“It’s just incredulity at the shambles that is the government’s (lack of) response.”

She said she had made efforts to contact the British consulate with no success, meanwhile she was surrounded by other European travellers who were being repatriated by their governments.

“The Scandinavians are being flown home today after all being moved to one hotel so their government could communicate effectively with them.

“Germany sent a fleet of [air conditioned] coaches to collect their people from around Goa and take them to the airport yesterday.

“I have had one automated reply to an email sending my details to the consulate in New Delhi. Other than that, nothing,” she said.

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