25,000 T’gana workers on edge as missiles pound Iraq’s Erbil
Hyderabad: With Iran targeting US forces in Iraq by firing missiles, 25,000 Telangana workers in Erbil, Iraq, are on tenterhooks. In view of the situation escalating further, workers are willing to be evacuated.
The Telangana Gulf Employees’ Welfare Association stepped in and issued an appeal to Telangana workers to gather at the Consulate General of India (CGI) in Erbil at 6pm on Thursday to pressure the authorities to facilitate their travel back home. The Indian embassy also advised Indians to avoid non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification.
“There is utter chaos and uncertainty here. There are a lot of American troops who are being targeted by Iran. The situation is going to get dangerous in the coming days,” said Ramachander Rayalawar, vice-president of the association. Ramachander, who works in Erbil, said a large number of Telangana workers are expected to gather at CGI on Thursday.
A majority of the workforce from Telangana is employed at construction sites in Erbil and nearby towns.
In a travel advisory issued on Wednesday, the Indian embassy in Baghdad asked Indian nationals residing in Iraq to be alert and avoid travel within the wartorn country. “Our embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide service to Indians residing in Iraq,” the embassy said.
Indian workers have always considered Baghdad a dangerous city to live in and hence chosen Erbil, which is considered safer. “The missile attack took place in the night and there is a lot of movement of government and military convoys here,” Ramachander said. “We heard that some helicopters were taken down in the attack. We also heard about casualties though we are not sure about that,” he added.