China's all-out effort to evacuate nationals from Libya continues

15:52, February 28, 2011      

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Chinese nationals evacuated from Libya, walk in the Beijing Capital International Airport after getting off a China Southern Airlines' flight in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 27, 2011. The plane, carrying 350 Chinese nationals evacuated from Libya, arrived in Beijing on Sunday. More than 20,000 Chinese nationals have been evacuated from unrest-wracked Libya as of Sunday, according to China's Foreign Ministry. (Xinhua/Wang Jianhua)

China is forging ahead with its all-out effort to evacuate its citizens out of unrest-torn Libya, transporting thousands more back home or to third countries.

By 0200 GMT Monday, some 29,000 Chinese nationals had been pulled out of Libya, among whom about 2,500 had returned to China, and some 23,000 and 3,400 were respectively taking shelter at and heading for other countries, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Chinese aviation authorities said that in the coming days, they would greatly increase the number of chartered flights to Greece, Malta and Tunisia in order to airlift the Chinese evacuees back home as soon as possible.

By Sunday afternoon, over 10,000 Chinese nationals had been ferried from the eastern Libyan port of Benghazi to the Greek island of Crete by three Greek vessels chartered by the Chinese embassy in Athens. More were expected in the coming days.

Among the evacuated, some 1,200 left Crete for China on Sunday night in four Chinese flights chartered by the Chinese government. Another 2,000 would follow on Monday in six chartered flights operated by Chinese and Greek airlines.

Also across the Mediterranean Sea, an ocean liner chartered by the Chinese embassy in Malta arrived at the Maltese capital of Valletta on Monday carrying over 1,600 Chinese evacuees who boarded the vessel at the western Libyan port of Misurata.

These passengers were the second batch shuttled to the island country during China's ongoing large-scale evacuation operation. Nearly half of the first batch of 2,235 who arrived Saturday had already flown back home on Saturday night and Sunday night in chartered flights.

In Tunisia, which borders Libya and has become the destination of flocks of fleeing foreigners, 11,000 Chinese evacuees were staying on the island of Djerba. All of them were well accommodated by the Chinese embassy in Tunisia. Some 350 of them returned to China on Sunday in a chartered flight, and the rest were expected to follow in the coming days.

Source: Xinhua

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