Take us to a safe location – Sri Lankans plead amid escalating conflict in Yemen (Watch Report)

Take us to a safe location – Sri Lankans plead amid escalating conflict in Yemen (Watch Report)

Written by Staff Writer

31 Mar, 2015 | 8:19 pm

Sri Lankan workers in Yemen say that no programme has been put in place to repatriate them amid the escalating conflict in that country.

A Saudi-led coalition, carried out airstrikes on Houthi rebel positions in Yemen for a sixth night on Monday, March 30.

Forty people were killed when at a camp for the internally displaced in north west Yemen on Monday.

However, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau, maintain, that the Sri Lankan nationals in Yemen, are safe.

Deputy General Manager of SLBFE Mangala Randeniya says that they are in constant contact with several Sri Lankans in Yemen. He added that the embassy in Oman too has been in constant contact with them. They too have said that they are safe.

Buddhika Prasanna from Sanaa, Yemen said

As far as we know, there are about 65 Sri Lankans working here and there is a small child too. They are not all in the same area. Some are 200, 4300, 500 or even 1000 kilometres away. ”

He noted that their situation is very precarious and added that they cannot have any faith in terms of their security.

International media reports say that the Indian and Chinese governments have already begun taking steps to evacuate their citizens.

However, Deputy General Manager of SLBFE Mangala Randeniya noted that no matter what steps India takes, be it to evacuate their nationals by air or by sea, using ten aircraft or a ship, arrangements have been made to evacuate the 45 Sri Lankan workers there along with them.

We also made inquiries into preparations made by the Sri Lankan Embassy in neighbouring Oman.

Charge d’ Affaires of SL Embassy in Oman N. L. Abdul Haleem says that they have thoroughly briefed the Foreign Ministry of all the action they have taken thus far, adding that everything has been arranged.

He went on to note that in this sensitive matter they are dealing with the government of India and in Sanaa the Indian Embassy in Yemen will coordinate it well.

Speaking further, he said that authority is waiting for some approvals to be obtained, so once everything is arranged,  they will probably be evacuated.

Buddhika Prasanna from Sanaa, Yemen speaking to us through skype said that Sri Lankans here in the capital Sanaa can be rescued with international intervention.

He added they attempted to reach the United Nations but they have closed their office in Sanaa.

Buddhika Prasanna said

  We ask that steps be taken to bring us back to Sri Lanka from Yemen or to take us to a safer location.’

Sri Lankans who are trapped amid the rapidly escalating conflict, ask that their evacuation be expedited.

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