20,000 Chinese nationals evacuated from Libya

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More than 20,000 Chinese nationals have been evacuated from unrest-wracked Libya as of Sunday, according to China's Foreign Ministry.

About 1,400 had returned to China while 3,400 were on their way to a third country, said a statement from the ministry.

An estimated 15,200 were temporarily in a third country: 7,200 on the Greek island of Crete, 2,100 in Malta and 5,900 on the Tunisian island of Djerba, said the Chinese ministry.

As many Chinese nationals have been evacuated from Libya through neighboring countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, China expressed its appreciation and gratitude on Sunday for the two nation's assistance to its evacuation work, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu.

Aircraft chartered by the Chinese government were scheduled to fly the evacuees back to China. Aviation authorities decided Saturday to dispatch 15 aircraft per day for the next two weeks to fly Chinese evacuees home.

The Chinese embassy in Greece also plans to charter flights to send Chinese nationals home from Crete, said the statement.

"Almost all Chinese citizens have been pulled out of eastern Libya, from the area in and around Benghazi," the statement noted.

Further, the ministry, other departments of the Chinese government and Chinese companies were working to evacuate Chinese nationals from other parts of Libya, it said.

The Consular Protection Center at China's Foreign Ministry is now keeping abreast of help requests posted by those who are in need of assistance amidst Libya's unrest.

Once noting help requirements put on microblogs, staff at the center shall contact local embassies or consulates for confirmation.

Based on the newly-paved way to collect this information, Chinese embassy staff have contacted and are assisting hundreds of Chinese working for China's companies in Libya to evacuate.

The center pledged it would work to the best of its ability to protect the safety and security of Chinese nationals there.

It also reminded those who want to post help requests via microblogs that they should provide information that is as comprehensive as possible, including their location as well as phone numbers.

Tens of thousands of Chinese nationals were working or living in Libya when the unrest began earlier this month.

Most of them are employees of Chinese companies doing business in Libya.


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