KOTTAYAM: The nurses returning home from Libya might have heaved a huge sigh of relief when the Emirates Flight EK 748 took them off from Tunis airport in Tunisia at 7.30 pm IST. The plane carrying 47 Malayali nurses along with one from Hyderabad will reach Kochi airport at 8.55 am on Tuesday, putting an end to the week-long agony and sufferings that they had to face in the war-torn Libya.
The safe extraction brings kudos for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and the officials of the Union Ministry of External Affairs, whose hard work paid off.
According to sources, 48 nurses out of the 58-member batch of Malayali nurses had left for Dubai on Monday evening from Tunis airport. After a brief halt at Dubai airport, the team will board the connecting flight at 3.20 am on Tuesday to Kochi. The remaining 10 members, who are staying at Le Pacha hotel in Tunis, will leave the country on Tuesday evening.
Second Batch Reaches Tunisia
Meanwhile, the second batch of Malayalis consisting of 42 nurses and a 10-year-old boy, who had left Tripoli Medical center (TMC) at 10.40 am IST on Monday reached safely at Tunisian border at around 3 pm IST. After migration clearances, they were shifted to Le Pacha hotel in Tunis at 6 pm. According to officials of the Non-Resident Keralite Affairs (NoRKA) they are expected to be brought back to Kerala via special flight.
“Chief Minister Oommen Chandy spoke to Union Minister Sushma Swaraj over phone and she assured that a special flight will be sent to Tunis to bring them back to Kerala. However, MEA is yet to confirm the date and time schedule of the special flight,” said NoRKA CEO P Sudeep.
Meanwhile, as per some unconfirmed reports, special flights will be sent only after the number of people reaches 300. If it is so, then those stranded will have to wait for one or two weeks.
Meanwhile, Sudeep added that people at Benghazi would be brought to Malta via sea route as travelling to Tunisia from Benghazi by road will be dangerous. Another special flight will be sent to Malta to bring them back to home.
The number of people registered online with NoRKA, as on Monday, has risen to 315.