Kochi, May 7 : With nationwide COVID-19 lock-down inching towards the 50th day, foreign tourists stranded in Kerala were a dejected lot. Though the tourists feel safe in Kerala, they were unhappy with their own authorities back home for not ensuring their well-being on a foreign soil during a crisis situation. The US and Russian citizens were among those who feel dejected by their governments the most. The tourists have formed a WhatsApp group of 20 countries including the UK, France, US, Russia, Canada, Australia and Japan.
Many of them stay in the coastal town of Varkala, in Thiruvananthapuram. "Luckily for us, Varkala police and local people were giving free food. The biggest worry is that if the situation continues, many tourists will not be able to afford accommodation in hotels," said Lucy Baldwin, UK citizen and a photographer-artist, who has been coming to Varkala for the past 15 years. Baldwin had been in touch with tourists from different countries and many of them told her about the ill-treatment meted out to them by authorities in their own countries. She also cited a message in which a Russian tourist, staying in Kochi, said the government was not offering any help. The Russian woman said she was part of a group with about 500 people who have been trying to get some money from the government. But only five to 10 percent of them received any money. B
aldwin said the Mozambique embassy did not even answer calls from a tourist from the country stuck in Varkala. The French tourists have been worried about lack of proper communication from their government. Tourists staying in Varkala did not wish to be a burden on Indian or Kerala government. "We know the magnanimity of the people here and the difficulties they faced," she said. (UNI)