Nurses in Iraq: Delay in evacuation heightens kins` tension

Uncertainty about their safe evacuation has heightened anxieties of relatives of Keralite nurses, stranded in a state-run hospital in Tikrit in strife-torn Iraq, though they still keep in touch with their homes to the relief of near and dear ones.

Kottayam: Uncertainty about their safe evacuation has heightened anxieties of relatives of Keralite nurses, stranded in a state-run hospital in Tikrit in strife-torn Iraq, though they still keep in touch with their homes to the relief of near and dear ones.

According to P Sudeep, CEO of state`s non-resident Keralites agency NORKA Roots, there are 46 nurses working in a hospital in Tikrit and taking them safely to the nearest airport is the biggest problem.

The state government and its agencies concerned were in constant touch with the External Affairs Ministry in Delhi and Indian Embassy in Baghdad about the situation in Tikrit, the official said.

According to families of some stranded nurses, their wards had been in the grip of fear since they could hear sounds of gunfire and grenades close to the street where the hospital is located.

Father of one of them from Kottayam, who does not want to be identified fearing it would risk his daughter`s safety, said his daughter called him this afternoon and said water and power supply to the hospital had been disrupted.

"She told me that they were mostly surviving on pieces of bread or buns and small quantity or rice served occasionally," he said.
"It is a great relief that the telephone link is not lost. But only God knows how long even that would last," he said.

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