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Thousands of Americans stranded abroad due to coronavirus crisis

Americans stranded overseas during pandemic
Thousands of Americans stuck abroad during pandemic 01:52

As coronavirus spreads, thousands of Americans are still stuck abroad, trying to get home. The state department is warning time may be running out.

Joy McBreen is among the hundreds of Americans still stuck in Peru, where the government abruptly locked down the country March 15.

"Most people who are living off day-to-day income now have no income," McBreen told CBS News. "And they've been promised money by the government that after two weeks in quarantine has still not yet arrived. And so people are literally starving going out with going without lifesaving medication, and it's pretty difficult to see."

"If things get any worse, I don't think I will feel very safe," McBreen added.

Ella Ponthier didn't have enough time to get out of the small town where she's teaching English.

"I'm relying on my government. Relying on the Peruvian government for them to cooperate," she said. "I have zero say, and what's to happen is very frustrating and scary.

A steady stream of Americans have been making their way back home, including 240 who arrived in Miami on Thursday night from Ecuador on a charter flight arranged by the State Department. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been using its planes to bring back hundreds more, and U.S. airlines have added special flights to bring home about 17,000.

Ian Brownlee is running the State Department's effort to bring home more than 22,000 Americans still overseas.

McBreen says a bus carrying other Americans passed through her town, but was unable to stop. She's among 35 Americans looking to get out of Chimbote.

"The embassy doesn't seem to have any kind of clear evacuation plan, which is what I think most has surprised me most about the situation," she said.

The situation has left thousand far from home, unsure when help is coming.

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