Two teenage girls from Sri Lanka whose ordeal aboard a vessel carrying Ebola last month had left them nearly penniless and in need of medical care plan to hitchhike from New Delhi to the state of Kerala in their home country.

The two girls, both 18, had boarded a ship to India via Amsterdam, but upon landing their health started to deteriorate, and Ebola surfaced the following day, prompting the ship to depart to its home port, Zanzibar. A case of Ebola was confirmed on the Zanzibar Island of Stone Town.

Travelers to India from the Caribbean and Africa told officials that they had encountered passengers from Sierra Leone during their travels, and both of the girls’ parents had been diagnosed with Ebola in past months, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in a statement at the time.

According to a U.N. report last week, 4,800 people in the Caribbean had traveled from West Africa to other countries between January and November of last year, and that an estimated 300 of them had suffered from one of three pathogens: Ebola, the dengue virus, or the Zika virus.

According to the Sri Lankan Hindu newspaper, the girls’ father died from tuberculosis, and they were now dependent on his wife for help. Although their guardians “have instructed them to start with a local boarding school and plan to start for college soon after that,” the report notes that they will likely have to work for at least a year while they are at school. The girls told the newspaper that they plan to use the money they had saved while in Amsterdam to transport themselves to Kerala, and that they are looking to leave their parents behind in order to ensure they can start over.

Read the full story at The Hindu.


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