Stranded Keralites in U.K. seek help to return home

Capt. Akhil Dharmaraj (left) along with his stranded friends at their place of stay in South Shields town in the U.K.

Capt. Akhil Dharmaraj (left) along with his stranded friends at their place of stay in South Shields town in the U.K.  

15 marine engineers went there for study last month

A group of 15 stranded Malayali marine engineers pursuing short-term courses at South Tyneside College in northeast England have appealed for help in getting home as they stare at the worsening COVID-19 situation and shortage of essential items.

“We came here on February 7 to attend a six-week course. The exams were cancelled on March 23 and restrictions were already in place by then. The rate of infections here is growing. We are not getting any sanitisers, masks or gloves. To get food, we are standing in long queues,” said Akhil Dharmaraj, a resident of Kalady here, over a WhatsApp chat.

Vishnu Rajendran of Irinjalakuda said they are working with various shipping companies and had undertaken the courses as part of enhancing their career credentials.

“We are living in various groups with common kitchen, washrooms, etc. There will be no scope for isolation if anyone among us gets infected. As the flight restrictions are being extended, lots of people are worried about the escalating prices and accommodation charges here,” he said.

Rojo Jose Thettayil of Thrissur pointed out that they did not have any insurance cover and were worried about the prolonged lockdown.

“We had contacted the Indian Embassy. They told us to follow the official guidelines. Many among us are the supporting members of our families back in Kerala,” he said. Mr. Akhil said the visa validity of many of the aspirants will expire soon. “But the government has assured us that it will be extended. Like us, there are at least 350 other stranded Indian students in various higher educational institutions in the U.K., with whom we have networked. There will be many more going through this difficult time,” he said.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 4:15:41 AM |

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