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Evacuation of Lankans in Yemen begins

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Three Sri Lankans were brought to Djibouti on an Indonesian vessel from Yemen on Friday (April 3). They are the first to be evacuated from Yemen since the Saudi Arabian led air strikes against the Houthi Rebels in Yemen began last week.

According to Director of Communications for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Satya Rodrigo, reports also stated that five other Sri Lankans were also on the way to Djibouti from Yemen. Names of individuals who were successfully evacuated had not been released at the time this edition went to press.

According to a press release issued by the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday (April 1), there are around 70 to 100 Sri Lankans currently in Yemen. Sri Lanka had sought assistance from the Indian High Commission in Yemen with the coordination of the Charge d’ Affaires in Muscat, Oman to evacuate Sri Lankans who were still in Yemen.

Currently, India has an estimated 3500 people living in Yemen. The Indian Navy has been sending ships to evacuate their nationals from the country through Djibouti. As of Thursday another Indian ship was waiting to take 300 people from the port of Al Hodeidah. The Chinese government has also expressed its willingness to help evacuate the Sri Lankans who are still in Yemen.

The Charge d’Affaires of Muscat, Oman is currently handling the issuing of the papers relating to the evacuation of Sri Lankans stranded in Yemen as Sri Lanka does not have a diplomatic presence in the country. They will be coordinating the evacuation with the Sri Lankan High Commission in Kenya to bring them to the nation of Djibouti.

Saudi Arabia along with other regional states launched an air strike known as Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen against Houthi positions held in the country on March 26. The Houthi, which is a rebel group, took hostage of the presidential palace of Yemen on the January 22 forcing the President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and his ministers to resign.

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