Kochi, April 2:
The 168 Indians evacuated from war-torn Yemen were happy on reaching here on Thursday, but were wary of their future.
An Indian Air Force flight carrying the passengers from Djibouti landed here early Thursday. They reached Djibouti after almost a 10-hour sail on a ship from Yemen.
“We are really happy to be with our near and dear ones,” said a nurse, who was elated over her safe return but was also worried about her future.
“The bigger question is what will happen to our future… We want a job, but do not know where it will come from, as we have families to look after,” said the nurse.
Among those who landed here, around two dozen hail from Tamil Nadu. Ministers K.C. Joseph, V.K. Ebrahim Kunju and K. Babu were at the airport to receive them.
The Kerala government gave a token amount of Rs.2,000 to each of them.
State Minister for Diaspora K.C. Joseph told IANS that they are in constant touch with the ministry of external affairs in Delhi and with the Indian officials in Yemen and Djibouti.
“While diplomatic efforts managed to break ice with Saudi Arabian authorities to clear the way for a free air zone to ensure our flights land in Yemen and then return through their air space.
“But talks with Iranian authorities are on as their permission is also required. There are another 2,500 Keralites including nurses and teachers,” said Joseph.
Another person who returned said the situation in Yemen is getting worse.
“The situation in Yemen is getting worse day by day as there are frequent bombings. Bombs were dropped around 200 metres from where I stayed. The most affected are the children,” said the returnee.
Another person who returned said: “Moreover, communications are also breaking down and then it becomes tough for Indian Embassy officials to get in touch with Indians.”
Joseph said the state government will press the central government to ensure that diplomatic talks are held to ensure the return of Indians.
“Another tough ask is that nobody knows many Keralites are there in Yemen. Also the Kerala government will do their best to see how best we can help the nurses,” Joseph said.
He said his government will look into providing jobs to the nurses who have returned.
“There are practical difficulties to find jobs for around 2,000 nurses, but our government will do everything possible,” said Joseph. (IANS)