Fifty-eight Indian nurses from Libya are on their way back home, the government said today while making a fresh appeal to all the Indians in the strife-torn nation to leave in view of deterioration in situation with a promise to make all arrangements for evacuation.
External Affairs Ministry said the government has made arrangements for a special flight as well as a ferry besides taking other measures to evacuate those wanting to return home from Libya.
Fifty-eight nurses, mostly from Kerala, on Friday reached border post of Ras Jedir on way to Tunisia, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told mediapersons in New Delhi. "We hope that by late night, all the nurses will be in Tunis. We have made arrangements for them to fly back to their home state," he said. The nurses also include a couple from Delhi and some from Hyderabad.
The spokesman said that following the success of this effort, smaller number of people will be travelling on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. He said the situation in Libya has deteriorated further since India issued an appeal for all its citizens to leave the country. "We are reiterating our view that all those who are in Libya should return home because the circumstances there have deteriorated even since we last sent out an advisory," he said.
"We have also arranged for, if it is required, a special flight to come to Djerba which is two hours from the border of Libya but shorter than Tunis," he said. He said the flight will be put into use if there is enough payload.
"We are ready...We have kept flight ready with clearances being taken, should that require. However, if smaller number of 50, 30 etc continues, we will then have to take them to Tunis and then take them out," he said.
The MEA spokesman said the Indian embassy in Tripoli is urging everyone to leave as the situation has further deteriorated. "It is in their interest that all who are there, leave. We are also making arrangements for those who are in Benghazi region and surrounding region to travel out. For this, if required, we will be having a ferry or a vessel which will take them from Benghazi to Malta.
"We are going to pre-position people in Malta so that they can assist them when they come on land and we are in touch with the government of Malta to facilitate the arrival of
Indian nationals, following which, if required, we will send a special aircraft to bring them back home," he said. The government of India has made all necessary arrangements to ensure that all Indians who desire come back will be expeditiously brought back, he added.
Image: Fire burns at a fuel depot near the airport road in Tripoli. Photograph: Hani Amara/Reuters