Travel warning issued, evacuation to start as protests continue in Egypt

08:57, January 31, 2011      

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As the anti-government protests continue for the sixth day on Sunday in Egypt, many countries have issued travel warnings and planned to send flights to evacuate their nationals from the country.

The U.S. government released on Sunday an advisory which " recommends that U.S. citizens avoid travel to Egypt due to ongoing political and social unrest" and authorizes "the voluntary departure" of its personnel.

"The U.S. embassy in Cairo informs U.S. citizens in Egypt who wish to depart that the Department of State is making arrangements to provide transportation to safe-haven locations in Europe," said a statement the embassy released on Sunday.

Besides the United States, other countries including France, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Australia and China also issued or upgraded security warnings to advise their nationals against traveling to Egypt amid ongoing unrest and ensuing lawlessness.

Gaza's Hamas rulers shut down the Rafah border crossing on Sunday as the Egyptian border guards fled after their security headquarters were attacked by the protesters the day before.

Countries such as Iraq, Turkey and India have sent or planned to arrange planes to evacuate their nationals.

Xinhua reporters found hundreds of passengers stranded at the Cairo International Airport on Sunday morning due to flight delays and cancellations.

"We have been waiting at the airport for almost two days. The embassy personnel told us the airport is the safest place in Cairo for the moment," Yuan Jie, a Chinese passenger told Xinhua. "As long as it will enable me to leave Egypt, I'm willing to take any plane for anywhere, but almost all the flights have been canceled or delayed. We can only wait here."

After several police stations in Cairo were attacked during days of unrest, the military began to check the vehicles heading for the airport for weapons stolen from the police stations, causing a traffic jam on the roads to the airport.

Worried about the lawlessness following several prison breaks during the unrest, some locals organized groups to protect their properties against lootings and to restore the traffic.

Source: Xinhua

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