Foreign countries evacuate citizens as Cairo unrest grows

US, Saudi Arabia among countries evacuating citizens amid violent protests against the rule of President Mubarak
Foreign countries evacuate citizens as Cairo unrest grows
Army tanks line up in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, to contain thousands of demonstrators
By Joanne Bladd
Sun 30 Jan 2011 04:25 PM

The US and Saudi Arabia said on Sunday they would evacuate citizens wanting to leave Egypt, which is grappling with violent protests against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

The US embassy in Cairo said flights would start leaving on Monday to safe haven locations in Europe, while Saudi Arabia said it had organised 10 extra flights to evacuate citizens.

Turkey is sending three Turkish Airlines planes to Egypt on Sunday, one to Cairo and two to Alexandria, to evacuate its 750 citizens, the state-run Anatolian news agency quoted embassy officials in Cairo as saying.

Britain hardened its advice to Britons in Egypt, advising nationals to leave Cairo, Suez and Alexandria "where it is safe to do so". It said there were no plans to evacuate diplomatic staff.

The UAE Foreign Ministry urged Emiratis to avoid protest sites and said it was following developments in Cairo closely.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways said it was working closely with the government to offer supplementary flights as needed.

Kuwait's carrier Wataniya will add extra flights daily from Cairo to assist the Kuwait Government's efforts to evacuate all nationals stranded during the current Egyptian crisis, the carrier said on Sunday.

Egypt’s tourism industry, which provides about one in eight jobs in the country, has been badly hit as foreign embassies issued travel bans to citizens.

News agencies have reported scenes of panic at Cairo airport at people struggled to secure flights out of the country. An estimated 3,000 people have been stranded at the airport, at least half of whom are travellers in transit through the Arab country.

Greece’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday that it plans to evacuate its citizens from Egypt.

Australia on Sunday too raised its travel warning to the highest possible level, urging residents to avoid all journey to the country.

Hong Kong followed suit, raising its travel alert for Egypt to black.

Emirates Airline, the largest Arab carrier, said on Sunday its Cairo service was operating as scheduled but urged passengers to reconsider non-essential travel to Egypt.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and aim to give customers as much notice as possible should there be any changes to our operations,” a spokesperson said.

Etihad said on Sunday its scheduled flights were operating as normal, but warned passengers to check its website for further updates.

German carrier Lufthansa said it had cancelled both of its two scheduled flights to Cairo on Saturday, while Air Berlin cancelled one flight to Cairo.

US carrier Delta Airlines, which flies direct to Cairo from the US, said service to and from Cairo would be "indefinitely suspended as a result of civil unrest."

 

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