African Students Stranded In China Plead With Embassies As Coronavirus Spreads

African Students Stranded In China Plead With Embassies As Coronavirus Spreads

There are an estimated 5,000 African students in Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus, who are looking for support from their home embassies. Photo by Maatla Kebs from Pexels

Thousands of African students in Wuhan, China, the center of the coronavirus epidemic, are pleading with their respective embassies to have them evacuated from the country. 

There are around 80,000 African students in China, with an estimated 5,000 of those in Wuhan, according to AfricanBusinessMagazine.

There are now more than 24,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally and the epidemic has resulted in around 490 deaths, according to data released by China’s Health Commission on Feb. 5.

Following rules imposed across China to restrict movement and the spread of the coronavirus, food and water supplies are dwindling and little information is being communicated to the students who in many cases are unable to leave their campuses or dorm rooms as they are under lockdown.

The frustrating situation has led to African students, such as those from Malawi, Nigeria, and Ghana, requesting their embassies to evacuate them from China. 

Chinese authorities have asked local embassies to tell their citizens not to return home to avoid further spread of the disease.

Many students have complained that their embassies have not provided much assistance during this anxious period in which the coronavirus continues to spread. 

Kenya is planning to repatriate its citizens in Wuhan, where 85 Kenyan students are stranded. The Kenyan government claims to be in constant communication with the students and plans to follow Egypt and Morocco in evacuating its people from Wuhan, AfricaNews reports.

A 21-year-old student from Cameroon living in Jingzhou city is among the new cases to have been reported this week following a trip he took to Wuhan a couple of weeks ago, according to BBC.

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Adam, a student from Nigeria, spoke to DW about the growing unease among Nigerians in Wuhan.

“We can get by right now, but who knows what could happen in one, two or three weeks,” said Adam.

“We just want our government to get in touch with us because at least then we feel that our government is listening to our concerns. Currently, people just feel abandoned,” he added.

Citizens from countries including the U.S., France, and Russia have been evacuated back to their home countries from the most heavily affected parts of China.