Norwich woman stranded in India struggling to get food and water after country goes into lockdown
PUBLISHED: 09:22 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:50 30 March 2020
A Norwich woman has been left stranded in India, struggling to find food and water and unable to catch a flight home after the country went into lockdown in a bid to halt to the spread of coronavirus.
Katie Fielder, 53 and from Norwich, arrived in Goa, on the western coast of India, for a two week stay on March 13. Shortly after she arrived, the British government advised against all but essential overseas travel.
Ms Fielder was due to return home on March 28, but on March 24 the Indian government announced a country-wide lockdown and Ms Fielder found herself stuck, living in a beach hut and struggling to get food or fresh water.
Ms Fielder said: “There’s no flights in or out now, the only way out now is to be repatriated.”
She said she had tried to buy a plane ticket to get home early, and knew of others who had bought three for four in a desperate attempt to get back to the UK.
“Goa airport is 1.5 hours away and no taxi drivers are prepared to risk police action,” she said. “So even getting to our nearest airport would need to be government sanctioned.
“[I’m] living in a little beach hut, not conducive to living in lockdown with no shops or restaurants open. Nothing.”
Ms Fielder said that by 7.30am in the morning it was 30C.
“Even locals can’t get food,” she said. “Armed police [are] preventing shops opening. [The] beach [is] also on lockdown.
“Water is also a problem as it’s so hot you need to drink a lot of water.”
Sasha Chessell, 51, a close friend of Ms Fielder’s who has been trying to help her get home, said: “The information is changing all the time, suddenly her return flight was cancelled with no notice.”
Mrs Chessell said she had spent hours on hold to airlines in a bid to get Ms Fielder a ticket home and has also contacted the MP for Norwich North, Chloe Smith.
She said: “It’ll be a huge relief when she’s home.”
A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it was working “around the clock” to support British travellers and allow them to come home.
MP Ms Smith said: “This is a really worrying time and there are people from Norwich and Norfolk caught up abroad, trying to get home. As an MP, I’m helping lots of constituents on every aspect of this crisis.”
She urged people to use advice on www.gov.uk but added: “Where more is needed everyone is working incredibly hard to help.”
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