Montreal·Video

Canadians arriving from Morocco urge Trudeau to bring back everyone left stranded by COVID-19 shutdown

Canadians arriving at Montreal's Trudeau Airport in the early hours Sunday say they're relieved to be out of Morocco, but are urging the government to help those still stranded.

Government arranged for Air Canada flight to fly from Casablanca to Montreal

Mohammed El Aidi was waiting with flowers when his wife, Ouafae, arrived at Trudeau Airport. (Radio-Canada)

Canadians arriving at Montreal's Trudeau Airport in the early hours Sunday say they're relieved to be out of Morocco, but are urging the government to help those still stranded.

Ouafae El Aidi said she was feeling "a little scared but good" now that she was back in Canada after spending months in Morocco as her father underwent medical procedures.

Her husband, Mohammed, was waiting with flowers when she arrived at the airport.

After Morocco cancelled all flights, they thought she may have to stay in the country for months. But when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that a commercial flight was being arranged to get citizens and permanent residents home, they jumped at the opportunity.

Ouafae will now spend two weeks at home, and the two will try to keep their distance from each other — as hard as that may be after spending months apart.

"We must accept it. It's for the good of everybody," Mohammed said.

WATCH | Canadians arrive at Trudeau Airport in Montreal:

Canadians landing in Montreal on a government-arranged flight say they're relieved to be out of Morocco, but urge the government to keep helping  those left abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic. 3:35

'We can't let them down'

Those registered with the embassy received an email with a special code so that they could book a flight with Air Canada, costing $1,272 plus tax.

The 450-seat plane had been filled on a first-come, first serve basis.

Those on board say the situation is dire for those still waiting at the airport.

Jeanne Charbonneau urged the federal government to get the rest of the Canadians stranded in Morocco home immediately. (Radio-Canada)

"People without coronavirus will get sick from stress," said Jeanne Charbonneau. She said she saw elderly people sleeping on the floor of the airport and people rationing medication.

Those still waiting "very much need a strong message from the prime minister that he will repatriate everyone tomorrow," she said.

"We can't let them down."

Issam Sedki said he was still in shock that his wife and child were able to get a flight home. He feared that it would be months before he would see them again.

"It happened so quickly," he said of the border closures and flight cancellations. "There was nothing we could do, we tried to find tickets but they cost $7,000 and you would circle the globe."

Issam Sedki said he was worried he would not see his wife for months. (Radio-Canada)

Eamon Fitzgerald says sleep and self-isolation are what he'll do once he gets home to Toronto. He had been travelling for six months when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

"I feel very grateful to be able to make it on the flight," he said.

"There are still a lot of Canadians over there. We're concerned that we're not doing enough to let them out."

With files from Radio-Canada

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