Home PoliticsAfrica News How an Immigrant spent 18 years stranded at the airport. Stranded international travellers on the rise

As the world struggles to increase the rate of vaccination, many International travellers are frustrated and some cases stock at airports for weeks and even months.

Nasseri, an Iranian refugee, was en route to England via Belgium and France in 1988 when he lost the papers that verified his refugee status. Without his papers, he could not board his plane for England. Nor was he permitted to leave the Paris airport and enter France. He soon became an international hot potato as his case bounced back and forth among officials in England, France, and Belgium. At one point French authorities offered to allow him to reside in France, but Nasseri turned down the offer, reportedly because he wanted to get to his original destination, England. And so he stayed at Charles de Gaulle Airport for nearly 18 years. He left only in 2006 when his declining health required hospitalization.

More recently, the coronavirus pandemic has created new long-term involuntary airport residents. For example, an Estonian named Roman Trofimov arrived at Manila International Airport on a flight from Bangkok on March 20, 2020. By the time of his arrival, Philippine authorities had ceased issuing entry visas to limit the spread of COVID-19. Trofimov spent over 100 days in the Manila airport until personnel at the Estonian embassy.

The Nigerian embassy has issued warnings to Nigerians travelling abroad to ensure that they comply with all Covid 19 testing and requirements in order to avoid getting stranded at the airport.

For the most part, airport officials have tried to provide aid to these voluntary residents. At Los Angeles International Airport, for example, officials have deployed crisis intervention teams to work to connect the homeless to housing and other services. But it’s also clear that most airport officials would prefer a solution where airports no longer operated as homeless shelters.

Afro World News

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