99% of volunteers back in Germany as Easter approaches
Roughly three weeks ago, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) started a repatriation operation for all North-South volunteers in response to the corona pandemic. Since then, in an unprecedented effort, the volunteer service organisations and the BMZ, in close consultation with the German Federal Foreign Office, have brought the vast majority of the 3,170 weltwärts volunteers back to Germany. Around ten volunteers have not yet returned. The crisis is also having an impact on the over 700 South-North volunteers currently in service in Germany.
Repatriation operation almost finished
The situation is starting to ease. Almost all of the 3,170 volunteers who were overseas at the start of the pandemic have now returned to Germany. With travel opportunities already beginning to materialise for the remaining few, it will be possible to complete the operation in the coming days. In view of the severely limited travel options worldwide and the significant safety restrictions in some of the countries where the volunteers were located, the fact that the operation is set to be completed after just three weeks can be considered a success.
International volunteers to remain in Germany
While almost all the German volunteers have returned from their countries of assignment, more than 700 South-North volunteers are currently still in Germany. Since there are no travel opportunities open to them, terminating their voluntary service is usually not an option at the moment. However, many volunteers have been given leave due to the corona pandemic because their places of assignment have been closed or because the stress or risk would be too high. It goes without saying that volunteers’ health and safety is our top priority.