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Hurricane Harvey Leaves 200 Indian Students Stranded, 2 Admitted to ICU, Says Sushma Swaraj

Continuous rainfall threatens to aggravate an already-dangerous situation as water logging has brought the entire city to a stand-still.

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Tropical storm Harvey
Sushma Swaraj, External affairs minister of India. Wikimedia
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  • Flooding from tropical storm Harvey is increasingly overburdening resources and threatening life in Texas
  • Two hundred Indian students have been stranded at University of Houston 
  • External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is currently makings efforts to help the stranded students

New Delhi, August 28, 2017 : Two hundred Indian students of the University of Houston have been marooned in floods in the wake of tropical storm Harvey causing heavy rains and flooding in America’s fourth largest city. Two Indian students are in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday.

“@CGHoust has informed me that 200 Indian students at University of Houston are marooned. They are surrounded by neck deep water,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

“We made efforts for delivery of food but US Coast Guard did not allow as boats were required for rescue operations,” she said.

Stating that Indian Consul General in Houston Anupam Ray was organising the rescue operations, Sushma Swaraj said in a separate tweet: “Indian students Shalini and Nikhil Bhatia are in ICU. We are ensuring that their relatives reach there at the earliest.”

According to a media report, at least two people have been killed as the Houston area continues to be inundated by torrential rain and catastrophic flooding from Harvey, which officials called an “unprecedented” weather event that has left thousands of homes flooded, stranding people and overwhelming rescue workers. (IANS)

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India’s Diwali Promise, Medical Visas to All Deserving

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Shushma Swaraj
External Affairs Minister Shushma Swaraj. IANS

New Delhi, October 19: Marking the auspicious occasion of Diwali, India on Thursday made a Diwali promise medical visas all those people abroad, including in Pakistan, seeking treatment.

“On the auspicious occasion of Deepawali, India will grant a medical visa in all deserving cases pending today,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

Keeping to a promise made on Independence Day, India on Wednesday issued six more medical visas to Pakistani nationals, including three children.

“We will issue visa to facilitate treatment of your eight-year-old child in India,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted on Wednesday night in response to a request from Nazir Ahmed who said that his son Mohammad Ahmed was awaiting a medical visa from India for one year.

In a separate tweet, she also promised a visa to Muhammad Asif Malik’s son, who is currently in an intensive care unit (ICU) in children’s hospital in Lahore, and to Kasif Chacha’s child who is running out of medicine.

Visas were also issued to Irfan Ahmed Shaikh, Nasir Mahmood and the mother of Rafique Menon for liver surgeries.

This month, Sushma Swaraj has announced the issuance of 19 medical visas to Pakistanis for treatment in India as Diwali promise.

Last month, India issued a medical visa to a Pakistani child seeking open heart surgery.

On Independence Day, the External Affairs Ministry made a Diwali promise that India would provide medical visas to all bonafide Pakistani patients.

As ties between the two countries soured over various issues, the ministry had announced in May that only a letter of recommendation by then Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz would enable a Pakistani national to get a medical visa for India.

The action was termed “highly regrettable” by Islamabad, which said that asking for such a letter violated diplomatic norms and such a requirement had not been prescribed for any other country.

However, on July 18, a patient from Pakistan-administered Kashmir, seeking treatment in New Delhi for a liver tumor, got a visa.

Sushma Swaraj then said that he needed no recommendation from the Pakistani government for a medical visa because the territory “is an integral part of India”.

Since August 15, however, Pakistani nationals seeking medical treatment have not been denied visas.(IANS)