Thiruvananthapuram : The government is set to begin the evacuation of stranded Indian nurses from conflict-ridden Libya. The first batch of over 200 nurses is expected to arrive later today.

The authorities are reported to have booked a chartered flight to help nurses fly back home.

Kottayam-based Libyan Nurses Parents Association (LNPA) secretary K Mohandas said that 36 nurses mainly from Tripoli Medical Centre are expected to leave for Tunisia by road in the morning and they were being brought to Tunisia in batches.

Mohandas said that the nurses were not informed about the arrangement so far. The Indian Embassy in Libya has booked rooms for them in hotels in Tunisia. Mohandas said his daughter working in the Tripoli Medical Centre had telephoned him in the evening and confirmed that they were ready to leave the Libyan capital. He said that reports saying that the nurses would be moved to Tunisia on Thursday were baseless.

“All the nurses have packed their belongings and are ready to move any time. They will be taken to Tunisian border, which is 155 km from Tripoli, by bus”, said Mohandas, who is coordinating the parents and relatives of Keralite nurses stranded in Libya.

Meanwhile, a nurse who is ready to leave Tripoli, said she and her colleague were robbed off their cash and mobile phones by a taxi driver in the nation’s capital. They were returning from a bank after withdrawing their salary as part of their preparations to leave the country.

In an open letter written to her father, S Gopakumar, Seena, who was working at the Tripoli Medical Centre, said that the driver of the taxi they hired to reach their hostel had robbed the valuabales on the gun point.  “I was helpless when the driver pressed the gun on my neck. When we cried and pleaded for mercy the driver returned our passports and lives,” Seena said urging her father not to reveal this to her mother who is grappling with cancer.

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