IAF aircraft 370 with 190 Indian nationals from Yemen landed at Mumbai International Airport at 3.30 am Thursday. In a multi-agency coordinated effort, the Indian Air Force deployed two C-17 Globemasters III aircrafts to Djibouti on April 1.
Of the 350 people rescued, 169 were directed towards Kochi and a few others opted for private flight. The passengers exited from the G-5 gate at airport’s P-4 level. According to MIAL officials, all the passengers were supposed to be dropped at their respective residences by authorities. The evacuation from Yemen comes after Government of India ordered Indian nationals to vacate the conflict zone following a civil war in Yemen. Of the 350 rescued, 206 are from Kerala, 40 from Tamil Nadu, 31 from Maharashtra, 23 from West Bengal, 22 from Delhi, 15 from Karnataka and 13 are from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Nitish Gopalan, brother-in-law of Rajini Hari — a nurse residing in Saa’na — said she had called on Sunday to inform the family that she has stopped going to work in a government-run hospital near her house there. “Earlier, they were taking patients and treating them. In the past two days the situation worsened.” Rajini lived with a few other nurses from Kerala.
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Gopalan, a Panvel resident, said, “She could constantly hear bombing outside her house. Once she made me listen to the noise over the phone,” he said. Rajini told The Indian Express, “I hardly ate in the past few days. Several of my other hospital friends are still stuck there.”
Jayalakshmi Pillai, elder sister of Lata Manappan, another nurse working in Yemen, said her sister had been working for the past four years for a salary of Rs 45,000 a month. The 28-year-old was “terrified to hear the sound of gun fire and bomb shells everyday”. “There has been tension in her vicinity since over a month now,” her Mulund-based sister said.
Her family said she last called them at 2 pm IST on Wednesday to inform about her departure from Djibouti where she had reached through INS Sumitra. “She will not go back now,” Jayalakshmi said resolutely. MP Kirit Somaiya, who was also present at the airport, said, “An allowance of Rs 3,000 has been given for train travel.”
Central Railway general manager S K Sood said three trains left from Mumbai within 18 hours of the flight’s arrival with over 130 passengers. The Netravati train departed for Kerala from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus with 60 passengers, while Duronto left for Kolkata with 30 passengers. The Chennai Express had 40 Indian nationals from Yemen to Tamil Nadu. “Under the emergency quota, we have cancelled tickets of other passengers. Two extra coaches have been added in Duronto and Netravati. An escort will also accompany each to their residence,” Sood said.
Over 3,700 Indians are still stranded in Yemen.