After the safe return of nurses from Iraq, concern is growing in Kerala over nurses employed in North African country Libya, where militant groups are fighting for control.
Hundreds of nurses from Kerala, most from economically backward families, had gone to various hospitals in Libya, particularly in Tripoli, a year ago. On Friday, around 100 parents of these nurses met in Kottayam seeking the intervention of the state and central governments in ensuring their safe return.
Libya Nurses Parents’ Association president K Mohandas said roughly 600 nurses from Kerala are employed in Libya. “Half of them work in Tripoli Medical Centre. The battle (in Libya) has reached Tripoli where militants targeted the airport. Nurses cannot go outside to buy provisions. Hospital authorities fail to provide security for them. They are safe within the hospital, but the trouble has reached their doorstep,’’ said Mohandas.
He said a section of nurses wanted to come back, while those who face bleak situations back home wanted to stay for as long as possible. The association has, meanwhile, approached the External Affairs Ministry for help.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the government would do what they could to ensure their safe return. He said since the airport in Tripoli was closed after the recent attack, the other option would be to bring the nurses back by road through Tunisia’s capital, Tunis.