FSM: First flight to transport 41 of hundreds stranded on Guam

ASSISTANCE: President David Panuelo of the Federated States of Micronesia, right, receives Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in Pohnpei, FSM, on Aug. 5, 2019. The U.S. government is providing a humanitarian flight to transport FSM citizens stranded on Guam. Photo courtesy of the FSM president's office

The Federated States of Micronesia's national government clarified on Thursday that the first humanitarian flight for FSM citizens stranded on Guam can only accommodate 41 people.

The FSM government has accepted the United States government's offer to provide military airlift for the 41 passengers out of Guam, stated the FSM national government.

There are between 297 to more than 330 FSM citizens who have been stranded on Guam, some of them since as far back as March, stated Richard Clark, special assistant and spokesman to FSM President David Panuelo.

The transportation arrangement for the rest of the stranded passengers has yet to be finalized.

"We have not necessarily planned for the U.S. government to assist the FSM in repatriating all 297 to 330-plus of our stranded citizens," Clark stated. "So far, we've only explicitly asked the U.S. for their assistance in conducting a humanitarian repatriation flight on Dec. 5. We're very much focused on the upcoming Dec. 5 repatriation effort, which will have approximately 41 passengers on it."

Clark added, "We do not yet have concrete repatriation plans for the rest of our stranded citizens on Guam, although returning all stranded citizens home remains a priority for the government."

Passengers

The Dec. 5 flight will transport 25 medical patients and their attendants, all of whom were referred by the MiCare Health Insurance provider, according to Clark. The plan is to also bring an additional eight students, all of whom have completed or otherwise are no longer enrolled in tertiary education, Clark stated.

Two FSM senators have also been stranded on Guam since March and one of them is expected to be on the Dec. 5 flight.

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