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Nurses thank Indian Mission in Libya, MEA

In this August 5, 2014 file photo, one of the 44 Kerala nurses evacuated from Libya is greeted by a relative on her arrival at the airport in Kochi.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Indian nationals who arrived from Libya by a special Air India plane on Saturday morning, thanked the Indian mission in Libya and the Ministry of External Affairs for their safe return.

The evacuees, most of them medical professionals from Kerala and some from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, said they had a difficult time living in Tripoli for the past couple of months.

 

“We don’t want to go back…even if normalcy returns to Libya, we would still try to find work here in India,” Princy, a nurse from Kerala’s Ernakulam district working at the Tripoli Medical Centre hospital, told The Hindu.

 

 

“While the hospital compound was safe, we could easily hear gunfire and bombings…we were scared…for the last one month, we did not have access to cooking gas and had to use electric heaters to cook food,” she said.

 

Princy had moved to Libya last November, along with several others, for better pay.

 

“The salary was better compared to what we’d get in India…but I had to pay 1,75,000 to this agency at Cochin to go to Tripoli. Some others paid more than Rs.2 Lakh… but in just eight months, I could not earn enough to recover that expense,” she said.

 

Most of these nurses were employed with the Libyan Ministry of Health on a two-year contract.

 

“We are very thankful to the Indian mission. While people from other countries had to wait in long queues at the Tunisia border and face trouble from the border authorities, the bus carrying Indians crossed the border without any hiccups,” said Jincy, another nurse from Idduki who worked at the same hospital.

 

Most of the nurses, however, complained about not receiving their salaries for months.

 

“Initially, we did not want to come back because our salaries were pending… but the Indian embassy assured us we would get our dues back from the TMC,” said Clitty.

 

The nurses said about 100-150 Indian nationals had stayed back in Tripoli waiting for their salaries.

 

As Libya — particularly capital Tripoli and another major city Benghazi — witnessed the fiercest violence since the fall of Muammar Qadhafi three years ago, several countries have evacuated their diplomats and nationals from the African country’s strife-torn areas.

Since the escalation of conflict in Libya, the Indian government has evacuated hundreds of Indian nationals. The latest batch of 270 Indians (and a Maltese national) left Benghazi on a ship to Malta on Friday, from where they would head to India, the MEA informed.

 

On Friday, a United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) delegation—headed by Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and Director of Political Affairs at UNSMIL Muin Shreim — held consultations with warring factions to try and end the violence in the country.

 


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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 8:10:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala-nurses-back-from-libya-thank-government/article6299247.ece

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