Ships to evacuate thousands of Indians from Yemen

Ships to evacuate thousands of Indians from Yemen
Supporters of Houthi rebels in a rally on March 26, 2015.

NEW DELHI - India is to send ships to Yemen to evacuate thousands of workers stranded there as the fighting intensifies, authorities said.

Around 3,500 Indians are currently working in Yemen, which has been plunged into chaos by a Huthi Shiite rebellion that has triggered Saudi-backed airstrikes on the capital Sanaa.

Many are nurses from the southern state of Kerala, whose Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said New Delhi planned to send two ships to evacuate them.

"(Foreign) minister Sushma Swaraj has said that India will send two ships to evacuate Indians who are trapped there," Chandy said in an announcement posted on his official Facebook page on Thursday.

"As the airports are closed, the plan is to bring these people in ships to the neighbouring country of Djibouti and from there they will be brought to India by air.

"Those who can't take ships, would be taken to Saudi Arabia by road."

Chandy said workers had complained of having their passports and other documents seized by hospital authorities, preventing them from leaving.

India's government this week asked all its nationals to leave Yemen as a Saudi-backed coalition launched airstrikes.

Around 2,500 are in Sanaa, with the rest spread out around the country.

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