Ugandan students in Egypt and Italy have appealed to government for financial aid to help them sustain themselves during the Coronavirus lockdown in their respective countries.
With Italy having recorded 69,176 confirmed cases and 6,820 deaths as of Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the country went into total lockdown.
Abbey Musinguzi, a Ugandan student persuasing a Masters in International Management and Business Consulting at the University of Messina in Southern Italy (Sicily) told Nile Post that they have become financially constrained and need government help.
“As students, we have made several attempts to seek financial assistance from the government but we haven’t received any positive response yet,” Musinguzi told this website.
Musinguzi said that they had filled forms with all their details hoping that government will come to their rescue. Musinguzi said that most of them are uncertain of what the next few days could be if government doesn’t respond.
He said, “Life is extremely hard especially for students, we don’t work, we have no means of financial assistance at all. I am worried that if the situation continues the way it is, in the next few weeks I will run out of money to buy food, I don’t know what will happen after that.”
Another Ugandan student in Milan, Italy, which is one of most-hard hit cities in Italy by Covid-19, who spoke on basis of anonymity, said that he is worried about their survival in the next few days.
“If there is any support from government, we really need it and we will welcome it because things are not friendly at all and especially here in the Lombardy region. I have been indoors for two weeks and I expect it get even worse,” he said.
The student however requested that government inform the public how much money it is sending so that no one takes advantage of their situation.
Aron Ndimukika, another Ugandan student at the Cairo University and leader of all Ugandan students in Egypt said that their situation is not far from what is happening in Italy.
Egypt was the first African country to announce a positive case of coronavirus when their Ministry of Health revealed this on February 14, 2020. They were also the first African nation to go into lockdown when President Abdel Fattah El Sisi announced earlier this month for a period of 100 days.
Currently, the Arab republic remains one of the most affected by coronavirus with 402 positive cases and 20 deaths as of Tuesday.
Ndimukika told Nile Post that only pharmacies, grocery stores and supermarkets are allowed to operate.
“Schools were closed on March 14, 2020 and ever since, life has changed. The reality of coronavirus hit us. The Egyptian students were told to vacate the hostels and return home so its only the foreign students remain in hostels. The situation is alarming because there is no food, no sanitizers and even water flows for a few hours,” Ndimukika said.
Nile Post was able to establish that there are at least 48 Ugandan students in the Cairo University, Alexandria University, American University in Cairo and the British University in Egypt.
“As the student’s leader, I have endeavored to communicate with the Embassy of Uganda in Egypt, I have written a formal letter explaining the student’s situation, but the diplomatic procedure and protocol makes the entire process very slow yet the situation calls for urgent response and solution.”
Government at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan, China aided the stranded students with $61,800 as relief.
The ministry of foreign affairs is however yet to reveal any relief plans for the rest of the students in other areas as the virus continues to eat up the world.
This reporter’s effort to get a comment from the Ministry yielded no result