Evacuations continue amid Egypt protests


Foreign countries continued their efforts Tuesday to evacuate their nationals from Egypt, as unrest persisted in the Arab nation.

China sent planes to pick up nearly 500 of its citizens in Cairo, and planned additional flights to evacuate hundreds of Hong Kong tourists from Luxor.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said Tuesday it was chartering flights to retrieve hundreds of its nationals.

On Monday, the United States said it was working to fly out an additional 1,400 of its citizens in the coming days after evacuating more than 1,200 Americans. The U.S. effort has involved nine government-chartered flights from Egypt to Turkey, Cyprus and Greece.

Officials in Turkey and Cyprus said they were making contingency plans to receive tourists evacuated from Egypt, and to speed them on to their destinations.

The U.S. State Department said Monday it plans to expand its voluntary evacuation effort beyond Cairo to reach stranded American citizens in other cities such as Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan. The U.S., which has about 50,000 citizens registered at its Cairo Embassy, said more than 2,600 people have contacted officials requesting evacuation assistance.

The U.S. flights are part of a broadening effort by governments around the world to transport their citizens out of Egypt, where widespread anti-government protests have led to clashes, looting and other dangers.

Canada, India, Israel and Indonesia are among the nations sending charter flights to evacuate their citizens.

Britain, Germany and France, which send thousands of tourists to Egypt each year, say at this point they have no plans to evacuate their nationals, many of whom are vacationing at Red Sea resorts, a considerable distance from the affected areas.

However, the British and German governments, among others, advised against all but essential travel to Egypt’s main cities.

The chaos and uncertainty gripping Egypt spread Monday to Cairo’s international airport, as thousands of foreigners crowded the facility in a desperate attempt to flee the unrest.

Many airline counters were abandoned by staff, and witnesses said the airport has run out of food and water.

A U.S.-chartered flight carrying 42 U.S. Embassy officials landed at Larnaca Airport in Cyprus Monday. An airport spokesman, Adamos Aspiris, told VOA that all evacuees will be given provisional lodgings until they depart for the United States or other destinations.

Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency says Moscow is ready to evacuate its citizens from Egypt, but has not announced it will do so. VOA



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