Over 1,000 Indonesians still in Yemen: Foreign Ministry

Over 1,000 Indonesians still in Yemen: Foreign Ministry
A group of some 110 Indonesian nationals evacuated from Yemen are seen during their arrival at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta international airport in Tangerang on April 5, 2015

The Foreign Ministry estimates that around 1,195 Indonesians have yet to be evacuated from Yemen, indicating that there may be another wave of evacuation efforts if the situation in the war-torn region deteriorates further.

Indonesian Ambassador to Yemen Wajid Fauzi said 1,194 Indonesians were in the eastern regions of the country, which so far had been unaffected by the ongoing war.

"We suspect there are at least 250 people whose records haven't been properly registered [in the Indonesian Embassy's database]," Wajid told reporters during a press briefing on Thursday. "Most are Indonesian students who have not registered."

The ambassador said the evacuation team had difficulties persuading those Indonesians living in safer areas to leave the country, as these people thought they were unaffected by the ongoing conflict.

According to Wajid, there are 574 Indonesians in Tarim and 275 in Al Mukalla, in addition to those not yet properly identified.

Even so, Wajid assured that the embassy's evacuation team would continue working from the eastern border in Salalah, Oman, in case the conflict escalated and the situation became too dangerous for the remaining Indonesians.

"I expect more evacuations if the situation in Tarim and Al Mukalla is no longer safe. For those that have stayed behind and are willing to be evacuated, we will pick them up at the border," he said, adding that there was no guarantee of safety for both Yemeni residents and foreigners alike, given the current situation.

On April 21, the Indonesian Embassy in Sana'a sustained heavy collateral damage from an air strike on a nearby ammunitions warehouse, forcing the embassy to move to Al Hudaida and then to Salalah, Oman.

Foreign Ministry director for the protection of Indonesian nationals and entities abroad Lalu Muhammad Iqbal said he feared for worst as the most recent attacks were starting to affect the route used for evacuation efforts on the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border in the east.

According to ministry data, the Indonesian mission had evacuated 2,059 Indonesians and 108 other foreign nationals since the outbreak of conflict last December between the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and the opposing Al-Houthi rebels.

Meanwhile, in an effort to find missing Indonesians in quake-stricken Nepal, Iqbal said the government's evacuation team had found new leads in its search.

According to Iqbal, the evacuation team in Nepal had claimed to have found a wallet believed to belong to one of the five missing Indonesians.

The wallet, retrieved with the help of the Spanish search and rescue team, contained the identity card, driver's license and the tax file number of Alma Parahita, one of three Taruna Hiking Club climbers who went missing during an expedition to Mount Everest when the disaster struck.

This revelation came as the Indonesian evacuation team was helping to identify 120 bodies found in the town of Langtang, which was ravaged by the earthquake.

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