Some 222 Ghanaians who were stranded in Qatar in the Middle East have been evacuated.
They arrived at the Kotoka International Airport at 11.30 a.m. Friday.
The evacuees, constituting the first batch, flew from the Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, at 3 a.m on Friday aboard a chartered plane belonging to the Ethiopian Airlines.
They included migrants and state officials who became stranded in the Middle East country due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
A reliable source at the Ghana Embassy in Qatar told the Daily Graphic that the Ghana Ambassador to Doha, Mr Emmanuel Enos, and some staff of the embassy in Qatar, along with the Chairman of the Ghanaian Community in Qatar, Mr Stephen Adjei, were at the airport to facilitate their departure formalities to bid them farewell.
The source stated that the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant economic and social challenges left many Ghanaian workers stranded in Qatar.
“The government, through its embassy in Doha and the executives of the Ghanaian community, organised an evacuation exercise for all the stranded Ghanaians, numbering 222, to depart Doha through the Hamad International Airport, via Ethiopian Airlines flight on Friday, July 31, 2020,” it said.
The source described the entire repatriation arrangements as “impressively successful”.
Appreciation to Qatar
It attributed the success largely to the “immense cooperation Ghana’s Embassy received from Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, through its warm and hardworking Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Ibrahim Yousif Abdullah Fakhro, his staff and other relevant Qatari institutions.
“Without a doubt, the resounding success of the evacuation exercise is a testament to the existing cordial bilateral relations between the two friendly countries.
“Ghana’s Embassy in Qatar is hopeful that the existing bonds of friendship between Ghana and the State of Qatar would continue to be strengthened and deepened, even further, in the coming years for the mutual benefit of the two countries,” the source added.
The source said with the assistance of the Ghanaian community leadership in Qatar, the Ghana Embassy was still in the process of collecting data of the second batch of stranded Ghanaians to facilitate their evacuation to Ghana.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has reiterated the government's commitment to assist in bringing home Ghanaians stranded outside the country because of COVID-19.
She said the decision was taken to begin the process of bringing Ghanaians home following the alert from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that COVID-19 was most likely to remain a global public health issue until a vaccine was developed.
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