50 Kerala nurses awaiting nod to return from Saudi Arabia

Thiruvananthapuram: Around 50 nurses from Kerala are awaiting a nod from authorities in Saudi Arabia and the Indian embassy to return to India, as they also want issues related to their work experience and certificates to be taken care of.

These nurses were evacuated on Sunday night from the troubled region of Samtah in Saudi Arabia, very close to the Yemen border, to Jizan that is about an hour’s drive from Samtah.

T. Thanu, a nurse from Kerala who has been working abroad for the past four years, told IANS on phone on Monday from Jizan that they all were waiting for the permission to return.

“We have been living in fear for the last three days at the 150-bed Samtah general hospital attached to Saudi Arabia’s health ministry due to mortar firing and shelling around us. About 50 nurses have decided to return to India. Sunday was our last day at work,” said Thanu.

“We want the Indian embassy to ensure that we get our experience certificates while a few new nursing recruits get their certificates back from the agency that recruited them,” said Thanu, who hails from Thrissur in Kerala.

These nurses were ready to continue working in Saudi Arabia, provided they were posted in trouble-free area, away from the Saudi-Yemen border.

“If it is not possible, we want to return to India at the earliest,” she added.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has assured these nurses that he had taken up the issue with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. An official from the Prime Minister’s Office called them up and assured of safe return.