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Some Yemen returnees from Kerala eager to go back once war is over

As per data of returnees released by MEA, of 978 Indians evacuated in last three days, 337 hailed from Kerala.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
Updated: April 6, 2015 7:59:10 am
Kochi: Kerala nurses evacuated from Yemen upon arrival at the international airport in Kochi on Saturday morning. (Source: PTI) Kochi: Kerala nurses evacuated from Yemen upon arrival at the international airport in Kochi on Saturday morning. (Source: PTI)

A section of Kerala expatriates, who have been rescued from conflict-torn Yemen, want to return to that country once normalcy returns there. This include several nurses who are ready to weather the fire balls raining on Yemen as domestic factors back home were more crippling for them.

As per the data of returnees released by Ministry of External Affairs, of 978 Indians evacuated in the past three days, 337 hailed from Kerala. Several hundreds are waiting to be rescued either by sea or air routes.

According to the returnees, scores of Kerala families are settled in Yemen. It would be difficult for them to bid adieu to Yemen, where they have built up a life over the years.

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“My family is settled in Yemen. My wife Siji has been working there for past six years and the elder son has been enrolled in a local school. Once the war is over, we would definitely go back. What else I can do,’’ asks Jimmy George, a school teacher for the past ten years in Aden in Yemen.

George, a native of Kanjirappally, said a large section of expatriates from Kerala in Aden are school teachers, nurses and staff at shopping malls and retail chains. Nurses are forced to stay back in Yemen due to bleak prospects in India, domestic financial constraints coupled with higher salary offers from hospitals during the war time.

Ashok Kumar, who has been working in Yemen for the past 23 years, said those who had settled in Yemen can’t think about jettisoning their belongings and properties all of a sudden.

He said although tension has been building up in Yemen for quite some time, Indians have been safe.

“Even Houthis don’t consider Indians as enemies. Last week, I was accosted by Houthi radicals. On hearing that I am an Indian, they allowed me to move on,’’ says Ashok Kumar, who hails from Aluva.

Male Nurse Akhil Das, who returned from Yemen, said many nurses have returned with the keys of their rented houses. “They have given four-month rent in advance. House owners have been informed that they (nurses) are leaving for the time being with the building keys. They have got re-entry permit,’’ says Das, who has been in Yemen since 2012.

Das, who worked in Sanaa, said he and many other nurses were staying outside the hospital complex unlike the female nurses. “Saudi forces were mainly targeting the hills around Sanaa, where Houthis were believed to have kept their arms,” he said.

Nurses from Kerala, who form a major part of Indian expatriates in Yemen, said several hospitals were not ready to hand over their passport and other documents to leave the country at war time.

“When a section of nurses are willing to stay back, the hospital managements gain the courage to deny exit for others who want to go home,’’ said a nurse.

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