664 Indians being flown back from Yemen
A C-17 Globemaster transport plane carrying 179 Indians will land in Mumbai at 11 p.m., while another Globemaster carrying 155 people will land at Mumbai at 11.15 p.m.
An Air India flight carrying 330 Indians will land at Kochi. The flight will arrive in India at around 1 a.m. on Saturday.
The external affairs ministry spokesperson tweeted that all three flights have taken off and are bound for India.
The two Globemasters took off from Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, where Indian nationals were evacuated by sea from Yemen.
Yemen has been engulfed by strife, as Shia Houthi rebels continue their advance against loyalists of exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s loyalists who are supported by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes.
According to the UN, the two weeks of chaos in Yemen has killed at least 519 people, many civilians and children among them. Another 1,700 people have been wounded over, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, said in a statement Thursday.
With the violence increasing, India on Friday stepped up its evacuation. It began evacuating its nationals by air from the Yemeni capital of Sana’a Aas two Air India flights took off with 351 Indians to Djibouti. The air flights got clearance on Friday.
Indian naval ship INS Sumitra reached neighbouring Djibouti with 306 Indians who boarded the waiting C 17 Globemasters to be flown back to India.
The 306 Indians were brought by sea from Al Hodeidah port in Yemen.
The spokesperson earlier said the government is “working on all fronts” to pull out its citizens from strife-torn Yemen. “Working on all fronts. We are making all out efforts to significantly enhance evacuation of Indian nationals from Yemen.”
Separately, 35 Indian nationals crossed over from Yemen to Saudi Arabia and are now in Gizan, a port city near the Yemen border.
On Thursday, another batch of 35 Indians had arrived in Djibouti onboard a cargo vessel from Aden.
In Kochi, a Kerala government official told IANS on Friday: “All arrangements are being made for quick check out and all the passengers will be given a token Rs.2,000, besides will be dropped at their residence on state-run buses.”
R.S. Kannan, CEO of Roots-Norka, a state-owned body that looks after the welfare of Kerala diaspora said: “There are around 330 passengers aboard the flight that will land at Kochi. It is carrying people mostly from Kerala.” (IANS)