India evacuates 206 Keralites from war-hit Yemen
New Delhi: Two IAF C-17 aircraft
carrying 190 and 168 Indians took off from Djibouti in war-hit Yemen to their
respective destinations of Mumbai and Kochi on Wednesday night.
The flight to Kochi is expected to
land at the Nedumbassery International airport by 1.30 am on Thursday, while
the flight to Mumbai is expected to reach Chhatrapati Shivaji International
Airport by 3.15 am.
Earlier in the day, India had
evacuated 358 nationals, including 206 Keralites, from the southern Yemeni port
of Aden to Djibouti.
The 358 Indians arrived in Djibouti
on Tuesday night on board Indian naval ship INS Sumitra. Minister of State for
External Affairs VK Singh, who reached neighbouring Djibouti on Tuesday, was
coordinating the evacuation operation with the Indian Navy and the Indian Air
INS Sumitra Wednesday left Djibouti
for al Hodeidah, a port on the west coast of Yemen, as part of Operation
Fighting has been going on in Yemen
since January 22 when the legitimate government under President Abd-Rabbu
Mansour Hadi was ousted by Shia Houthi forces. This has provoked the recent
military campaign by a coalition of 10 countries led by Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister
Oommen Chandy urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to act fast to help Keralites
stranded in Yemen. In a letter, Chandy said he was getting frantic calls from
young Kerala nurses in Yemen. He pointed out that Pakistani and Chinese
nationals had already been evacuated.
“They (nurses) all are literally
weeping and are afraid for their lives if urgent steps are not taken,” wrote
Chandy. He also pressed Modi to prevail upon Saudi Arabia to ensure landing
facilities for Indian flights in Sana'a and other airports in Yemen.
He said all Indians who want to
return may be provided an exit pass and permission to leave Yemen without
paying any fees. “Some hospitals including the Sana'a Military Hospital are not
permitting our nurses to leave Yemen. They are demanding compensation and
withholding the passports,” Chandy said.
Kerala government sources said some
600 Keralites were awaiting a relief flight from India at the Sana’a airport. Besides
helping its own nationals, India will also assist Bangladesh in bringing back
its stranded nationals from Yemen.
According to Bangladeshi media, the
Indian move came hours after Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque told
journalists in Dhaka that they had spoken to New Delhi on ways to bring back
The Bangladeshi foreign secretary
said India had agreed in principle to help Bangladesh evacuate its nationals,
but after pulling out its own nationals. The Indian High Commission tweeted: “India
to Assist in Evacuation of Bangladesh Nationals from Yemen.”