US, Other Nations Send Ferries, Planes to Libya for Evacuations

Published on Wednesday 23rd February 2011

The U.S. State Department says it has chartered a ferry to evacuate Americans from the Libyan capital, Tripoli, as other nations make similar efforts to help tens of thousands of foreigners flee a deadly uprising against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. A U.S. notice sent to Americans in Tripoli advises those wishing to leave to report to the city's As-Shahab port Wednesday morning for a ferry departing at 3 p.m. local time for the Mediterranean island of Malta. It says U.S. citizens will be required to reimburse the U.S. government for the cost of the trip. South Asian nations also prepared evacuation plans for tens of thousands of their citizens working in Libya, many as low-paid laborers on construction sites. Indian Foreign Minister Nirupama Rao said Wednesday New Delhi is making arrangements to help all of its 18,000 citizens in Libya leave the country by air and sea. The plans include sending a passenger ship with a capacity of 1,000 people to the Libyan coast to pick up Indian evacuees. Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes says Dhaka is considering all options for repatriating up to 60,000 Bangladeshis from Libya. The impoverished South Asian nation has been in contact with international organizations to seek their assistance with evacuation plans. The French news agency says two French military planes landed in Paris early Wednesday after picking up about 370 French nationals from Tripoli. Some passengers said the Libyan capital's airport was choked with expatriates waiting to be flown home. Other nations also sent military and civilian planes to Tripoli or were preparing to do so in coordination with Libyan authorities. Those nations include Bulgaria, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Jordan, the Netherlands, Russia, Serbia and Spain. Two Turkish ferries arrived in the eastern Libyan port of Benghazi late Tuesday to pick up about 3,000 Turkish citizens stranded in the city, a focal point of the uprising that began last week and the scene of some of the worst violence. Turkey says it had 25,000 citizens in Libya, many of them working in construction. Britain said it was deploying Royal Navy warship HMS Cumberland  off the Libyan coast to help with a possible sea-borne evacuation of British citizens stuck in the country. Egypt and Tunisia said thousands of their citizens were fleeing Libya over land through border crossings. Greece said it is considering requests for evacuation assistance from several countries, including China. The Philippines offered to pay for flights to evacuate some of its 26,000 Libya-based citizens, while South Korea urged its workers to leave after looters attacked several South Korean-operated construction sites in the North African country.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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