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Why many Kerala nurses in Yemen chose not to board Indian navy vessel?


Hundreds of nurses from Kerala are caught up in war-torn Yemen. Surprisingly, many of the nurses, who returned, have said that it's better to stay back than to return back to India.

Some even chose not to board an Indian vessel, preferring to take a chance despite heavy bombing. [130 Keralites land in Kochi from Yemen]

kerala nurses

Many of them are from poor families, who took heavy loans to educate their children and then send them abroad to earn the money back, are left with no chance to appeal Kerala government for a job.

Middle men and recruitment agents, who charge exorbitant fees to place them in jobs abroad, add to their predicament.

24-year-old Anu Thomas, who has been working in Yemen for last one and half years, is worried about how to repay the finance she has taken for her education and to pay a recruitment agent to find her a job in Iraq education.

"Many of the nurses who are stranded there are facing the dilemma of whether to return to India or stay put in Yemen. Many have borrowed money back home and say they are able to pay it back because of the relatively higher salaries they get," she said.

"Few hospital in India will give 25,000 (a month) as salary," she said. "But it is so expensive to live with that money. In comparison, Yemen is good because at least I can save something and send it back home."

Her friend Abraham Mathew is worried about how he is going to repay a loan he has taken for education.

"I don't know how I can clear my education loan with the salaries that are paid in India. However, Abraham says that is prepared to wait "until the problem is sorted out in Yemen."

Many have appealed to the Kerala government to waive their loans so that they can return to the safety of their homes from a country in a state of war.

[Naval ship to ferry 300 more Indians from Yemen]

Thomas Chacko, father of Anu, said that they are not hopeful because the government hasn't disbursed the promised sum of Rs 3 lakh to Iraq-returned nurses.

"Government and many others offered jobs to many nurses who returned in 2014 July Iraq crisis, but many haven't got job till now," he said.

"There are huge debts, responsibility rests with me to repay it," said Sandra Jose. "We want to go back abroad. Hope things get better in Yemen soon," she added.

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