886 Bhutanese evacuated in first batch with 1,047 to go in the second batch

The government has evacuated 756 Bhutanese in India comprising of; 240 people from Delhi, 139 from Bangalore, 110 people from Chandigarh, 135 people from Amrithsar, 51 from Kolkata and 81 from Chennai, India in the first phase. About 70 percent of the people evacuated are students.

In addition 59 were evacuated from Sri Lanka and 71 from Maldives coming to a total of 886 evacuated so far.

Foreign Minister (Dr) Tandi Dorji said that since most of the people evacuated were students, the government has given subsidy for those who were not able to afford air tickets. The government bought tickets for the patients who were in Kolkata and Vellore.

In the second phase, the government will be sending relief flights to evacuate a total of 429 people from Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bhubaneshwar and Bangalore, India from 18th to 23rd April.

Out of 429 people, 136 are students, 19 are armed forces, 135 are workers and 139 are monks. The government is working towards bringing in all the people from the states within 26 April.

Almost 2,000 Bhutanese living in India are expecting to be evacuated. From the remaining 632, 52 comprising of 9 students and 43 workers have requested government for an evacuation at a later date. However, Lyonpo said later the situation might change and ban may be lifted, at that time, they can take the opportunity to return back home.

The government will also send buses to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Siliguri to pick up Bhutanese from there on 18 April. There are 105 Bhutanese in Sikkim, 13 in Siliguri and 27 in Kalimpong.

All 69 people who are working in the Maldives are in Bhutan. From 208 Bhutanese in Sri Lanka, the first 93 came arrived in the first trip followed by another 59 in the second trip. There are 48 Bhutanese students in Sri Lanka who chose to stay back as did not want to miss their exams.

The government will send flights from 18 April to 21st April to Dubai, Kuwait and Doha in the Middle East  to pick up 398 Bhutanese. In the next phase, around 204 people will be evacuated from GCC countries.

A total of 113 Bhutanese from Australia, Japan and Malaysia will be evacuated. 60 from Australia, 22 from Japan and 26 from Malaysia are coming via Malaysia. There are 371 Bhutanese in Japan, from which 22 wish to return home. Lyonpo said the rest decided to stay back. There are 4 Bhutanese in Singapore and 5 in the Philippines wishing to return back.

Lyonpo said since the number of people is very less, the flight charges will quite expensive for them. However, government is planning for them to return home.

Many Bhutanese living in Europe and the United Kingdom have expressed that they are doing well and want to stay back. 33 Bhutanese in United States of America and 15 in Canada want to return back.

More batches are expected in the future as around 5000 to 6000 Bhutanese want to come back to Bhutan.

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