Chinese evacuees in Crete, awaiting airlift to motherland

10:34, February 26, 2011      

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The return to motherland for thousands of Chinese evacuees from riot-torn Libya to the southern Greek island of Crete will take some more time, said Chinese embassy officials on Friday. "Because of some technical issues regarding the arrangements for the chartered flights to China from Heraklion, more time is needed," said Chinese Ambassador to Greece Luo Linquan who visited the first 4,200 Chinese evacuees from Libya on Thursday in a dozen hotels across the city on Friday.

Nevertheless, the Chinese nationals are satisfied with their treatment in Crete and are very grateful to the Greek government and Greek people for their help. "They are all very tired, impatient to meet their beloved ones, and at the same time excited with Greece and the Greek people, their hospitality and the food,"noted Luo, adding in Greek "poli kala, poli orea" (very good, very well) when he talked to Greek media.

Representatives of the Chinese community in Greece also handed over Chinese packaged food and medicine to evacuees.

There are some 20 slightly injured amongst the Chinese nationals who arrived in Heraklion on Thursday aboard two ships. Local hospitals are on standby to offer medical aid to anybody in need.

Greek local authorities have discussed with officials from the consulates of approximately 4,500 Philippinos and 3,000 British nationals to Crete.

Greece supports the evacuation operation of other countries, as the rescue mission of Greek nationals in Libya has almost winded up. With the exception of a dozen Greeks still stranded in Sahara desert, more than 200 Greeks and Cypriots have returned safely in early Friday to Athens airport aboard three C-130 military transport planes sent to Libya.

Among them is an injured employee at the Greek embassy in Tripoli who was shot in the shoulder and legs.

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