Kendrapara: Stranded in war zones of Yemen for over several days, four skilled personnel from Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara have made a safe return to their villages.
Far away from hostile environs of the civil-war-torn country, the workers recounted their ordeal and how they had a providential escape from death.
They expressed their gratitude to the Union government and Union Minister of State of External Affairs V K Singh for having come to the aid of stranded Indians when it mattered the most.
“Everything was done meticulously for our safe return.
The bombings are still on in capital city Sanna and Aden, the port city. We have got a new lease of life. I spent many sleepless nights following deafening sound of bombardment”, recounted Mohammad Iftekar Amir (32).
Amir was employed as a pharmacy manager in a private firm and was based in Yemen’s capital city of Sanna.
A resident of Aul in Kendrapara district, Amir had migrated to Sanna on 2006 and was leading a contended life with Rs 60,000 a month monthly salary. But things went awry last month with Yemen was stuck in internecine civil war.
Things got worse towards the second week of March, he said.
“By then Yemen had turned into full-fledged conflict zone. I was staying in a posh locality of Sanna. Though the area was free from conflict, the cacophony of gun battles and bombardment reverberated the air after daybreak. To stay in Yemen was unsafe. A misguided missile could kill anybody at anytime”, he recalled.
“The Indian government promptly intervened. On April 5, we, a group of 120 Indians were airlifted to Djibouti. A total number of 342 Indians were flown from Djibouti to Kochi by special flight. 250 returnees were from Kerala. From Kochi, we landed by air in Mumbai. I travelled back to Odisha by train”, he said.
“The Maharastra government arranged the train fare and provided us Rs 3,000 as travel expenses. Ironically there was no response from Odisha government though my relatives had apprised the local administration”, Amir said.
Another worker of Jagatsinghpur, Mohammad Ali said, “Yemen was a nice place to live in before the civil war erupted. I was working in a star hotel in Sanna. I was paid handsomely and the employers were worker-friendly. I still hope to return to Yemen once the situation improves there”.
Seikh Tahis of Brahmabarada in Jajpur district recalled “As trouble started, I decided to leave Yemen. My employer in Hudaida port city was generous. The Indian Embassy was informed. I flew back to India on March 4 after government intervention”.
When contacted, Kendrapara district collector Pramod Kumar Das said, “The block development officers, Tehsildars and district labour officers have been directed to collect information regarding the persons who have migrated to Yemen for jobs”.
Yemen has been witnessing fierce battle between Saudi-led coalition and Shiite rebels, who have battled their way into various cities including Yemen in the former stronghold of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi who has fled overseas.