Funds depleting for South Africans stranded abroad

2020-05-05 06:01
Amy George, Lyle Hartzenberg and Cohen Richards.

Amy George, Lyle Hartzenberg and Cohen Richards.

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What was meant to be a dream holiday for a Crawford Family has them stranded on a tropical island, uncertain when they will get to return home.

For Amy George, her son Cohen Richards and partner Lyle Hartzenberg, nearly a year of planning went into their trip to Bali.

“Myself, 10-year-old son and partner left South Africa on Wednesday 18 March and came here on vacation for a week and was due to return on Friday 27 March,” George says.

After hearing about the virus and that it had reached South Africa in March, George says she visited the local travel agent and called weekly to ensure the travel was safe. She says they were not aware of the pending lockdown or possible travel restrictions.

“We were definitely well aware of the virus. The day prior to departure we visited our travel agent as we were 50/50. I called on a weekly basis to find out if there are any changes on their side. As Indonesia/Bali was a low-risk country and there were no travel bans, we were told that should we need to come home we will be booked onto a flight – no issues. Obviously not the case as we are currently stuck in Bali,” says George.

The group is patiently waiting on a repatriation flight.

George says there are many people trying to scam them because of their desperate situation to get home. She adds that there are hundreds of people stranded abroad.

“Currently in Indonesia, there are over 100 close to 140 and in Thailand over 200 South Africans. We hope for the best. It was our decision to travel and we understand that president Cyril Ramaphosa has to do what needs to be done to protect the country. However, we do need to get home,” says George.

George says she has travelled on numerous occasions and this has never occurred before.

“We, as a group of South Africans stranded in Indonesia, understand how serious the pandemic is. We would love to come home. People are losing their income and some people are on unpaid leave. Some people are living on one salary in other countries. Most of us are staying at hotels at a cheaper rate but as the days start to increase the funds start to deplete,” she says.

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