Ongoing repatriation of weltwärts volunteers to Germany
Repatriation of North-South volunteers well underway
Last week, in response to the worsening situation surrounding the global spread of the coronavirus, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) called on the German implementing organisations in the weltwärts volunteer service to start bringing back all North-South component volunteers to Germany. The repatriation efforts, which are being closely coordinated with the German Foreign Office, are well underway.
All sides, i.e. the German sending organisations, the Foreign Office, the BMZ and the volunteers themselves - some with the support of their families - are working to ensure the volunteers can return safely to Germany. With international mobility restricted, the principle of “safety before speed” continues to apply.
Like other Germans currently abroad, weltwärts volunteers are included in the German government’s efforts to bring citizens back to Germany from across the globe. All of the necessary information can be found on the BMZ website. In addition, the volunteers are in close contact with their sending organisations, which are also doing their utmost to identify and organise possible safe travel routes.
The government’s repatriation efforts are being planned centrally by the Foreign Office and implemented by the local embassies. The embassies are responsible for coordinating and prioritising the passengers for each flight. In some countries, there are still hundreds of tourists who need to be brought back as a priority due, for example, to health issues. The embassies are planning their resources against this background and advising people who have accommodation and a social network to stay at home for the time being and maintain close contact with their embassy.
A list of the repatriation efforts, with links to the respective embassy websites, is provided here:
List of countries in which repatriation efforts are underway
To receive information on what to do and updates from the embassies, the general recommendation, if there are no more commercial flights, is to register in the repatriation app in addition to the crisis preparedness list (“Krisenvorsorgeliste”), also known as the “ELEFAND list”. All persons whose details are in the crisis preparedness list will receive the latest information from the embassy by email. Passengers designated for repatriation flights will be contacted directly by email or telephone and requested to make their way to the airport.
The information provided by the German embassies in each of the host countries with regard to whether registration in the repatriation app is necessary on a daily basis must be followed. Volunteers should only re-register each day if their German embassy tells them to do so.
The BMZ is in close contact with all embassies in the countries in which repatriation efforts have started or are planned and will provide the embassies with additional lists of the weltwärts volunteers currently in their country. These lists will be regularly updated. The embassies urgently request that people refrain from contacting them personally to ask about repatriation. They urgently need their resources to coordinate the repatriation efforts.