NEW DELHI — Over 358 Indians evacuated from the strife-torn Yemen were brought home by two Indian Air Force (IAF) planes on Thursday morning. While the first plane carrying 168 people, mostly nurses from Kerala, landed at Kochi airport, the second plane carrying 190 Indian nationals landed in Mumbai.
The two planes, C-17 Globemasters, brought them from Djibouti after being evacuated by Indian Naval ship Sumitra from Aden, the port city of Yemen.
Kerala Diaspora Minister KC Joseph, PWD Minister Ibrahim Kunjuand and their family members welcomed those who landed in Kochi airport.
Meanwhile, the nurses thanked the government and Indian Embassies for their efforts to evacuate them.
"Some people are still there, the situation is not good there. The Government of India has helped a lot," said one of the rescued.
Kerala Road Transport Corporation has arranged special buses to drop the evacuated people to their home towns from the airport.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide quick action over the Keralites stranded in the strife-hit region.
Chandy also said that Pakistani Chinese nationals had already been evacuated.
He further pressed Modi to prevail upon the Saudi Arabia to ensure landing facility for Indian flights in Sanaa and other airports in Yemen.
The Kerala chief minister said all Indians who want to return may be provided an exit pass and permission to leave Yemen without paying any fees.
In a highly coordinated operation, around 350 people stranded in the port city of Aden, Yemen were evacuated by Indian Navy Ship INS Sumitra in the past two days.
The Central Railway is providing food and assistance with ticketing and is making arrangements for their further journey home.
The Ministry of External Affairs had on Wednesday said the evacuation of Indian nationals was a national effort involving various aspects of the country's assets like the Air Force, Navy and Air India.
"I can confirm to you that national effort is underway to bring back our nationals who are engulfed in the turbulence in Yemen. Last night the first phase of this national effort involving the Indian navy was successful," MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told ANI.
"This is a national effort and an effort involving various aspects of India's national assets like the airforce, navy and diplomatic assets. We will continue this effort until we are able to bring back all back our nationals," he added.