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130 Kerala nurses rescued from Jizan of Saudi Arabia

New Delhi: One hundred and thirty Malayali nurses have been rescued from Jizan, a troubled region of Saudi Arabia. According to sources close to Ministry of External Affairs, all those rescued were shifted to King Fahad hospital and are safe.

The rescue mission was initiated after Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy sought External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s intervention in the matter on Sunday.

Earlier reports said that around 50 nurses from Kerala were awaiting nod from the Saudi authorities and the Indian embassy to return home. They were evacuated on Sunday night from the troubled region of Samtah, very close to the Yemen border.

T Thanu, a nurse from Kerala who has been working abroad for the past four years, told IANS over phone on Monday from Jizan that they all were waiting for the permission to return.

“We have been living in fear for the last three days at the 150-bed Samtah general hospital attached to Saudi Arabia's health ministry due to mortar firing and shelling around us. About 50 nurses have decided to return to India. Sunday was our last day at work,” said Thanu.

“We want the Indian embassy to ensure that we get our experience certificates,” said Thanu, who is from Thrissur. These nurses were ready to continue work in Saudi Arabia, provided they were posted in trouble-free area, away from the Saudi-Yemen border.

“If it is not possible, we want to return to India at the earliest,” she added. Later, an official from the Prime Minister's Office called them up and assured of safe return. A Saudi Arabia-led coalition has been bombing Houthi group across Yemen since March 26 when Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled to Riyadh.

The Houthis control much of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa. (With inputs from agencies)