Hundreds of Ghanians repatriated from UAE

Most had become stuck in the country on visit visas when the UAE closed its borders in March

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A repatriation flight to Ghana left Dubai on Thursday carrying hundreds of tourists and expats home.

Emirates flight EK9255 to Accra departed from Dubai International Airport shortly after 7am carrying 340 passengers.

Many who boarded the plane were stuck in the country on visit visas when the UAE closed its borders to prevent the spread of coronavirus on March 19. Others lost their jobs as a result of the current health pandemic.

Organised by the Ghanian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, it was the seventh repatriation flight to depart for the West African city since June.

Kofi Mumuni, from the Ghana consulate’s welfare department, said more than 1,200 people have returned home over the past two months.

“The tickets were priced between Dh1,740 and Dh2,500 and we requested that the funds be raised by the individual themselves,” he said.

“We met the passengers at the airport this morning and settled immigration fines for about 25 people, some as much as Dh1,000.

“Others arrived at the airport with tickets they had previously purchased but were unable to use because of the flight cancellations.

“We paid the fees to change their tickets so they could board Thursday morning’s flight, which still had a few seats available.”

Mr Mumuni said there were no confirmed dates for an upcoming flight but assured that the embassy and consulate would update its website when new dates were announced.

In June, several hundred men and women were given a place to stay by Dubai Police after pictures circulated online of a group camping out in a park near the consulate. Many claimed they were jobless and homeless and wanted to return to their home country.