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Teenager volunteering in Nepal finally gets a ticket home for £800



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A 19-year-old volunteer from Bury St Edmunds has paid £800 to return home after becoming stranded in Nepal when the coronavirus crisis struck.

Niamh McGoochan found herself low on money, facing the closure of her accommodation within days and unable to book a flight home.

She was finally able to secure a flight on Wednesday, only to find the ticket price had been set at £800 due to the plane having to fly out to the country empty.

Many UK nationals were left unable to get home
Many UK nationals were left unable to get home

While stranded in Nepal, she was afraid to go out to collect asthma medication while on lockdown in the country due to local police, who she said were ‘out on the road with sticks, ready to hit people to make them go back home.’

Following the lead of many other countries around the world, Nepal put strict lockdown measures in place as the coronavirus crisis developed.

Miss McGoochan had been volunteering in the country for more than two months and is staying in volunteer accommodation which was set to close on April 15.

Niamh was volunteering in Nepal
Niamh was volunteering in Nepal

Describing being stranded in Nepal, she said: “We were all running low on money, some of our visas were running out and we were all very tired. We just wanted to be home with our family, safe.”

Karen McGoochan, who is Niamh’s mother, said: “We contacted the British embassy in Nepal and they sent out a standard email. They also arranged to get UK citizens to the airport but the problem was getting the flights. Niamh had already had a hospital stay for a kidney infection and was very scared.”

She added: “She has had to pay £800 and put that on a credit card just to get home. We’ll be doing our best to get a refund.”

A government press release on April 4 said that the government was ‘ramping up efforts’ to bring home thousands of travellers still stranded overseas.

It said that a new package of extra flights and ten additional airlines had joined its scheme and advised all UK nationals overseas to return home immediately.