Ethiopian Government Unresponsive to Student Requests to Return Home from Wuhan: Parents

By Staff Reporter

Wuhan-CoronavirusFebruary 20, 2020 ( -- The Ethiopian government has remained unresponsive to calls for help by more than 300 Ethiopian students who requested to come home from Wuhan city of China which is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, the students’ parents have said

The Ethiopian Ambassador to China, Teshome Toga, told VOA Amharic Service that there is no new development from the government side to bring the students back home, but it approved a $200 financial support for each student to cover their meal and other expenses.

“We had a discussion with members of the Ethiopian Students Union in Wuhan and agreed to focus on prevention considering the circumstances in the city. We are now depositing the money in their bank accounts,” Teshome said.

Teshome did not comment why the Ethiopian government has failed to repatriate the students.

Here in Addis Ababa, the students’ parents numbering more than a hundred submitted letters to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the office of the Prime Minister requesting help from the government for the repatriation of their children.

“We want our children returned and quarantined here. They are confined in closed door and windows of their dormitories. They eat once a day and are insisting us to request the government help them move out of Wuhan city. We don’t understand why the government remained passive,” the parents said.

The Student Union president Zahara Abdulahi two weeks ago said almost all students want to come home and 41 percent of them would like the government to cover their return fares while the remaining want the government only to facilitate their safe return.

The parents, who are filling request forms at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are asking the government to help them return the students with return fares covered by them (the parents).

“The $200 financial support helps nothing because the students cannot go out of their dormitories. They used to travel about 4km to buy their daily meals but now it is impossible to go out of their campus,” the parents added.

More than 4,000 African students are estimated to live in Wuhan city. The virus has spread globally to more than 26 countries and, so far, one person African, from Cameroon, is said to have contracted the coronavirus.

All African airlines, except Ethiopian Airlines, have suspended flights to China in a bid to contain the Wuhan coronavirus as the death toll from the outbreak topped 2130 with more than 75,000 infection cases.

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