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Nellai Family of Three Trapped in Yemen Hospital

Couple fear falling into the hands of Islamic State jihadists who are steadily advancing towards Hodeidha town; not easy to return home as ferry to Dubai will cost a fortune

Published: 04th April 2016 05:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th April 2016 08:20 AM   |  A+A-

TIRUNELVELI: A 40-year-old-man from Tirunelveli district has been spending sleepless nights in Yemen, anxious to figure out whether he would be able to return to India. With his wife and a four-year-old daughter in tow, the family has been stranded in the war-torn Arab state with Islamic State terrorists within sniffing distance from the hospital, where the couple is presently employed.

Exit is near impossible as all the three aerodromes in Yemen have been destroyed and the Indian embassy closed. The school where the child used to study has ceased to exist. The only way they can probably return is to reach Dubai via the sea route and catch a flight, but even that is beyond reach as the expenses would be at least `1 lakh per head.

The man’s elderly parents from Vikramasingapuram near Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district are anxious and are praying that the government takes steps to bail them out.

Speaking to Express, Gnana Siromani, father of Edward Victor Jesudass who is a store-keeper at the Mayo Hospital in Hodeidha town, Yemen, said things are going from bad to worse. Edward’s wife Prema is a nurse at the same hospital.

Edward got married in 2010 but Prema was working as a nurse in the hospital prior to that. Their daughter Bernice was born the following year and the family moved to Yemen in 2011. With the situation worsening in Yemen, the family is now in the throes of death as the Islamic State group is in the vicinity.

Movement outside poses great risk and the family has to make do with basic supplies inside the hospital. If that wasn’t enough, the hospital itself has become insecure as one of the church fathers working at a school inside the hospital has been recently abducted.

Siromani said that Edward came to India once in 2014 for his sister’s marriage.

“Edward had informed that all the three aerodromes in Yemen were destroyed and they had to come to Dubai via sea to reach India. They even fear that if they come out of the hospital, they might get killed,” says Siromani.

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Siromani’s wife, Chandra, a retired secondary grade teacher,  claimed that earlier the cost of one-way journey for the entire family used to be Rs 40,000.

But owing to the destruction of aerodromes, the cost of a single ticket is `1 lakh and as their salaries have been cut a lot following the incidents, they are struggling to return home.

To make matters worse, the family could speak only once a month and that too they would be inaudible most of the time.

When Prema was contacted over phone, she said that the  condition in Yemen is unstable and their condition too is becoming worse.

“Our daughter’s education is also suffering. Hopefully, we can return by May,” she said.

Troubled times

Exit is difficult as airports are defunct. Escape to Dubai is an option but tickets are pricey (Rs 1 lakh)

The couple is able to call family members only once a month. That too, their voices would often crack

They have to survive with basic supplies. The child cannot go to school since a father of the church was abducted from the hospital

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