In the midst of Ethiopia ‘s Conflict, stranded Indians were unable to return over to job risks

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In spite of the increasingly worsening situation work was a vital part of the lives of Indian people stranded in Ethiopia, for whom families say it is a matter of paychecks to choose between living in the country and returning to India.

Ethiopia: The Tigray Popular LEthiopiaiberation Front (TPLF) forces were opposed by federal troops, a leading regional political party now a rebel group. (Agency/AP for Ethiopia News)

At the outbreak of violent conflicts in the northern Ethiopian Tigray region earlier this month, Preeti Mishra (name changed), said her dad denied it as another political-social disorder in a conflict-prone region. Mishra’s dad is a professor of social sciences at Adigrat University and has been used to hearing his accounts of changes in the city for nearly 10 years and his family back in Varanasi.

Twenty-three days ago, after the Ethiopian Government blocked telephone lines and cut off online connectivity in the area the Sanjeev Mishra family (name changed) lost contact with him. Mishra’s 21-year-old daughter told Indianexpress.com that “We figured there was a problem. “We tried contacting his friends at the university but we couldn’t get through them. Then we contacted his friends’ families in India but they were in the same boat.”

The Mishra families started after days with no contact to scan for news stories and social media, whatever might give them an idea of the situation in Adigrat. “We searched on Twitter and Instagram and realized that the situation was bad,” Preeti said. Diwali’s festival came and went, but only the protection of Mishra was concerned with this year for the farm.

Then earlier this month, Preeti urgently asked for her father’s whereabouts from the Indian Embassy in Addis Abeba. “They only said they were monitoring the situation.”

The number of Indian citizens in Ethiopia is not clear, but interviews show that most people work in factories and related businesses and teach at higher education institutions throughout the world. According to Preeti talks with consular officers at Indian Embassy in Addis-Abeba, about thirty Indians in different positions were evacuated to India last week at Adigrat University. Ten more Indian university faculty members, including Preeti’s father, remain in Ethiopia but the conditions are uncertain.

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