Even as the families of 46 Indian nurses who were released from the conflict zone in Iraq heaved a sigh of relief on Friday, the families of nine other nurses from the Nilgiris wait with bated breath for their return.

These nurses are not working in Tikrit but in southern Iraq, far away from the conflict zone. Yet, their families here are anxious to know about their condition. When The Hindu spoke to several of their family members, a strong sense of unease was palpable.

However, the families see a ray of hope, thanks to the regular phone calls from the nurses, saying that they are safe.

On Friday, Gracy Jose, mother of Aleena, 25, a nurse at Al Safar Hospital in Basra, about 1,000 km from Baghdad, said her daughter was not facing any problem.

She said that even on Friday afternoon, she got a message from one of Aleena’s friends that all of them were safe. The authorities in Iraq had told them that all 20-odd Indian nurses working in the hospital (including those from the Nilgiris) would be sent back next month. Gincent, husband of Sini, 28, a nurse at Ramadh, has been acting as a coordinator for the affected families at Gudalur.

He said on Thursday that his wife had spoken to him, and the authorities in Iraq had assured her that she and 24 other nurses working with her would be sent back before the month-end.

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