Coronavirus: Kiwis stranded in India say Government has forgotten them

Hundreds of Kiwis stranded in India say they're in danger and the Government has forgotten about them.

Flights back to New Zealand were cancelled amid the COVID-19 lockdown and violence in the country is growing after a strict lockdown was extended.

Depending on where you look, the streets of India tell different stories of life in lockdown.

While the poorest have emptied out of the cities, the villages they've returned to are now overflowing.

And as police patrol the streets their presence only adds to the growing unrest as jobless migrants light fires in revolt and pelt police with stones.

The now extended lockdown has thrown 1.3 billion lives into chaos - among them hundreds of New Zealanders.

George Palmer set out on a one-man whirlwind tour of India last month. He's now stuck, paying $170 a night for a bed in Delhi with no way home.

"The sense of abandonment is probably the biggest thing," he says.

"I was given less and less access to food and water supplies and no notice when I was kicked out of the hotel with nowhere else to go."

Wellington's Pooja Shah had taken her ten-month-old son to meet his family in India when their nightmare started.

She's so scared of violent residents she's been crying herself to sleep every night.

"I have not stepped out since the lockdown, even if I want to get something," she says.

"My son was unwell a week back and we had to show him to the doctor but we were not ready to step out of the house."

So far 288 deaths have been recorded in India but the true figures are feared to be much higher.

And the increase in crime has made an already worrying situation that much more frightening.

"Please listen to all of our cries of help, we'd love to come home and see our families and friend again," Palmer says.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says there are currently 1135 New Zealanders registered as either living or travelling in India. And the Government is working cosely with its partners such as Australia to help assist Kiwis in their return home.

"Our hands are completely tied, we are doing our best," Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters says.

National's spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Gerry Brownlee says a mercy flight should be considered.

"If we were to lose New Zealanders overseas simply because they couldn't get back home, that would be a terrible tragedy."

And an avoidable one.