More 700 Indian fishermen in coronavirus-hit Iran are desperately seeking a flight home as Covid-19 cases have begun spreading to the ports where they are stranded, said a representative of a fishermen’s body here.
The fishermen, who were sent food and provisions by the Indian embassy in Iran on Friday, hail from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. “They are stranded at smaller places… They have no clear information except that many (Iran) government officials have been affected in the outbreak. Now they fear getting affected by the virus. They want to come back,” said Justin Antony of the International Fishermen Development Trust, who is in touch with the fishermen.
Antony said the fishermen are stranded in different parts of Iran such as Kish, Kangam, Lavan, Mogham, Zero, Chiruyeh, Bhuskar, Sharak and Alshoor. “They were all working on boats owned by Dubai-based and Iranian owners. The owners had threatened them against abandoning the boats on the Iranian coast. The provisions they received on Friday will last for a maximum of two days. These small pockets of Iran, too, have now started reporting coronavirus cases. The government should take immediate steps to bring them back,” Antony said.
A senior government official in Tamil Nadu said the Chief Minister’s office was in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs to provide food and provisions for 721 stranded men. “We will raise it with Delhi again if they want to come back,” said a senior government secretary.
On Friday, Indian embassy in Iran tweeted photos of their men supplying essentials to “(around) 1,000 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Kerala in Iran’s southern provinces of Bushehr and Hormozgan”.
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