Progress in repatriating residents
After evaluation of the first group of returnees that arrived on April 17th, a next repatriation flight will arrive on Bonaire on May 10th, 2020. It regards residents who were stranded in the United States and on Aruba. Considering the logistical complexity, the planning of repatriation is revised almost on a daily basis.
From the United States 42, and from Aruba 12 Bonairean residents have signed up and are eligible for repatriation. Because the U.S. Consulate in Curaçao, organizes a flight to Aruba to repatriate U.S. citizens, Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire have seized this opportunity to have their own stranded residents return home as well. The flight departs from Fort Lauderdale to Aruba. From Aruba, a charter will then be deployed to bring residents back to Bonaire. Residents in both America and Aruba are personally informed about the possibility to participate on this flight.
A previous draft planning of the Repatriation Task Force explored the possibility of bringing back persons from Colombia and the Dominican Republic. Partly due to the current lockdown in the Dominican Republic, this is currently not feasible. However, the repatriation of residents from Colombia will continue, meanwhile over 20 residents have returned. The remaining residents from Colombia will be brought back as soon as the care and shelter capacity allows this again.
In order to reduce the risk of spreading of the coronavirus, it is important that repatriation takes place in a controlled and phased way. As there are still more than 250 residents spread across over 20 countries, it is a logistically complex process. Local measures in the different countries, available flights and the most efficient means of deployment should be taken into account. At the same time, local care and shelter capacity must not be overburdened. That is why scheduling is reviewed almost daily.
Currently effort is being made to expand the local care and shelter capacity so that larger groups can be repatriated simultaneously and the process of bringing everyone home can be shortened. However, the situation worldwide is changing on a daily basis. Therefore, residents who are stranded abroad are personally informed as soon as a specific date for the next flight has been set and whether they are eligible to partake.