Thiruvananthapuram: There is a shortage of food and water in Yemen and continuous bombing and shelling is taking place in the country, an Indian expatriate has said on returning to Kerala.
Rueban Jacob Chandy, who arrived here in the morning, said the atmosphere is not conducive to live in Yemen with food and water becoming increasingly scarse.
"I worked with a Dubai-based oil company in (Yemen capital) Sanna. I was the only Indian in the company, which gave me a ticket to fly home. the day before yesterday (Saturday) around 79 people boarded a Yemen airline flight and flew to Djibouti. We were put on a Qatar Airways flight to Doha and then I reached here," Chandy told IANS.
Two youths also reached Kochi from Yemen on Monday. They waited on an airport in Yemen for a few days before taking a flight, he said.
"All those who flew from Yemen had to buy their own tickets. The condition is difficult in the country. The Indian embassy is doing its best to help people. Sanaa is in hilly terrain...there is heavy bombing in these areas after sunset and it continues till sunrise," said Chandy.
The ban on flying through Saudi Arabian airspace is a hurdle, Diaspora Minister KC Joseph said.
"Two Air India planes have been waiting at two airports in the Middle East to reach Yemen after they get clearance. The Indian embassy is working hard and is ensuring that Indians take these flights," Joseph told IANS.
Joseph refuted reports that those who were returning have to buy their own tickets.
"Evacuation is done for free. People do not have to spend money till they reach home. People should understand that the only way we have for a safe evacuation is through diplomatic options. We are doing everything possible," Joseph added.
Apart from the two aircraft, two Indian ships have also departed for the evacuation exercise, he said.
"If we are able to airlift stranded people, we will do it. We are doing our best," added Joseph.
There are around 3,000 Indians in Yemen waiting to return, of whom half are nurses from Kerala.