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Air India evacuation from Yemen begins

Yemen crisis

New Delhi: India today began air evacuation of its citizens from Yemen as the first Air India flight landed in Sanaa to rescue those trapped in the largest city of the war-ravaged country.

After hectic diplomatic efforts, India finally got permission to land in Sanaa and the first flight with a passenger capacity of 120 has landed, the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said.

Nearly 2,500 Indian nationals are waiting in Sanaa to flee the strife-torn country.

The Spokesperson said there will be four sorties today by Air India plane and the government was hoping to rescue over 500 nationals. After reaching Djibouti, these evacuees will be brought home by special flights of the Air Force.

Minister of State in External Affairs Ministry V K Singh is in Djibouti to oversee the evacuation operation.

Air India had sent two 180-seater Airbus A320 planes to Muscat on March 30 for evacuation of Indians from Sanaa to Djibouti but they could not fly to the Yemeni city as clearance was not given by the concerned authorities.

The MEA spokesperson further said 35 Indians had crossed over from Yemen to Saudi Arabia and are now in Gizan. He said Indian officials are assisting them them to return to India.

Last night, more than 300 Indians were rescued from Yemeni port city of Al Hudaydah, taking the total number of those rescued to over 800 from the country.

So far, majority of Indians were rescued by Navy vessel INS Sumitra. It had evacuated 350 Indians from Aden on Tuesday night and rescued over 300 nationals from Al Hudaydah yesterday.

Indians are being brought back to the country from Djibouti by two Air Force C-17 Globemasters.

This is the fourth major evacuation which the Indian government has undertaken. The first three were in Ukraine, Iraq and Libya.

Yemen has been witnessing fierce battle between Saudi-led coalition and Shiite rebels, who have battled their way into the heart of Yemen’s main southern city Aden where fighting raged in the former stronghold of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi who has fled overseas.

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