Britons forced to sit tight in Nepal as European nations begin evacuations 

France, Germany and Australia are reportedly helping their nationals to evacuate

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Lisa-Marie Drew and Luke Tiller are stranded in Pokhara
Lisa-Marie Drew and Luke Tiller are stranded in Pokhara

British citizens trapped in the mountainous tourist town of Pokhara, Nepal on Thursday were despondent as they watched French and Australian citizens being evacuated as they were left behind with dwindling food supplies and no route home. 

“It’s really hard here, we’re really struggling,” said Lisa-Marie Drew and Luke Tiller from Basildon, who have been stranded since Sunday. 

They said they had been trekking in the mountains when they found out purely by chance about the sudden travel warnings to return home. 

They descended for eight hours, took three buses, and are now stuck during a nationwide lockdown in a small hotel room in Pokhara after flights back to Kathmandu, the capital, were grounded. 

“The French and the Australians are being picked up by the tourist police via their government,” said Ms Drew. 

“The British government have been no help at all. We’ve emailed our MPs and the embassy a few different times to try to get some idea of what is happening... How long do we have to try to keep our heads afloat here?”

Phil Baldock, 60, from Uttoxeter, who is also marooned in Pokhara with his wife Elly, said there was building frustration among Brits as news filtered through of French and German efforts to get their citizens home in the face of very little information from the British embassy. 

“Locals are helping..but for how long as food and medical supplies are short. French rescue flights leaving now, German flights on 27&28th. We are in a vacuum with nothing from UK Embassy. HELP!” he tweeted. 

By Thursday evening, Nicola Pollitt, the UK ambassador to Nepal, issued a video update, thanking British citizens for their patience as “we work on a plan” to get you home “as soon as possible.”

She cautioned that for people in remote areas “this may take some time and planning as the country is on lockdown. We are working closely with the Nepali authorities and the airlines to find a solution.” 

For British travellers in Asia, flights home have been particularly hard to secure because key transit hubs including Singapore, Dubai and Taipei have been closed down. 

Samantha Smith from Lancaster said she had been trapped for days in Rishikesh, northern India, unable to even travel to the capital, Delhi, because a nationwide curfew had blocked all transport routes. 

Alone in a tiny room with one heating element to make noodles, she said she had been relieved to finally reach someone at the British High Commission on Thursday night, who told her they were trying to help citizens arrange new flights by next week.

“For now I can’t move, I’m not allowed. I just need to sit tight,” she said.