Kerala wants to airlift stranded nurses

The Kerala government is taking steps to evacuate nurses from the state stranded in Iraq, even as fresh reports of Indian nurses stuck in strife-torn regions emerged on Tuesday. 

Responding to a question at the state Legislative Assembly, Minister for Non  Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA) K C Joseph said the challenge was in shifting the nurses to airports through roads that continue to be hit by gun-battles.

According to the state government, 36 of the 42 nurses from Kerala in Iraq’s troubled regions have expressed willingness to return home while others are awaiting pending salaries before deciding on their return.  Meanwhile, a senior official at NORKA-ROOTS – NORKA department’s field agency – confirmed requests for evacuation from more nurses stuck in the Diyala province of Iraq.

P Sudeep, CEO and Director of NORKA-ROOTS, said he received calls from a nurse in a Diyala hospital reporting battles in the hospital neighbourhood. 

“She said she could hear blasts near the hospital after fresh battles started near the hospital around 8:30 pm on Monday. We are in touch with the Indian Ambassador to Iraq and exploring possibilities of air-lifting the nurses from these hospitals by aligning with the Red Crescent because taking them to airports by road is a hugely risky task,” Sudeep told Deccan Herald.

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