13,000 stranded Americans struggle to find way home as pandemic surges
Washington (CNN) As the State Department arranges flights to bring back Americans stuck abroad by border closures and flight cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of those citizens and their families tell CNN they are still struggling to get clear answers from the agency tasked with protecting their health and well-being overseas.
State Department officials told reporters Monday that they are organizing 16 flights in the next few days, deploying an emergency fund to charter flights and discussing the use of Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security planes to transport stranded Americans, some 13,500 of whom have reached out for help getting home and are now being tracked by the department.
"No option is foreclosed out," a senior State Department official said.
The officials spoke a day after President Donald Trump said the government is "working very hard, long," to help Americans overseas. Vice President Mike Pence added that, "We've been working very diligently through the State Department to make it possible. Their commercial flights have been chartered and we're also working with the military for a backup on flights."
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