By Shakir Husain
NEW DELHI, March 25 -- Malaysians stranded in Mumbai are waiting for the Indian government to give clearance for a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) evacuation flight as a nationwide coronavirus lockdown makes life harsh for people in India.
More than 1,250 Malaysians have been brought to Kuala Lumpur from India on special flights since air travel was disrupted due to the country’s suspension of flights in its fight to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Two chartered AirAsia flights from Tiruchirappalli, also known as Tiruchi, and one from Chennai on Tuesday night evacuated about 560 Malaysians stranded in the southern two cities.
"We have roughly 300 Malaysians left in Tiruchi after 376 were evacuated on the two flights to Kuala Lumpur last night," Logi Dhasan Thanaraj, a member of the Chennai consulate team, told Bernama on Wednesday.
There are still 800 Malaysians in southern India, 437 in New Delhi and the northern region, and 41 in Mumbai.
Those in Mumbai have been waiting for a planned MAS flight, which may also accommodate Malaysians from other parts of India.
"There is a proposed flight of Malaysia Airlines. We hope that flight clearance will be received soon," Zainal Azlan Mohd Nadzir, consul general of Malaysia in Mumbai, told Bernama.
"Forty-one Malaysians are in touch with us and we are keeping them updated about the situation. They understand that these are difficult circumstances," he said.
However, the start of a 21-day countrywide lockdown on Wednesday is set to make life more difficult for foreigners stuck in the country.
Zainal said the consulate recently helped a Malaysian find alternative accommodation after the hotel where he was staying did not want foreigners.
Some Malaysians have shared their videos with their friends and family members, describing their difficult conditions in India.
The lockdown, in which Indian police are enforcing curfew-life conditions, makes arranging transport and buying essential goods difficult.
It will be a challenge for the stranded Malaysians in the Delhi region to move to Mumbai when the proposed flight gets approval.
"We are in touch with our colleagues in Delhi to accommodate some Malaysians on this flight," Zainal said.
Another MAS flight is planned to evacuate Malaysians from Chennai.
Malaysia National News Agency
No.28 Jalan BERNAMA
Off Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : +603-2693 9933 (General Line)
Email : email@example.com