Australians left in Beirut as rescue ship forced to go

2007-midi-evacrusses.jpgWhile thousands of Westerners have been bussed, flown and shipped out of Lebanon as Israel continues to bomb the country, some are struggling to get out. Hundreds of Australians were left in Beirut after a Greek navy ship was forced to leave without them. Israel had apparently set a deadline for the vessel’s departure and refused to guarantee its safety after that. Several Britons were also allegedly told they would be evacuated today but were later informed the offer only applied to priority cases.

The departures may not be as smooth as some would like but foreigners from countries such as Nepal and the Philippines are being left to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, a third group of Russians has arrived in Moscow, having been flown from Syria. One of them, Mohammed Shal, said he was extremely frightened in Lebanon: “A bomb blew up near our house, we were all really nervous and afraid of dying. For three days we have been living on our nerves.”

Beirut airport has been unusable since virtually the beginning of the Israeli bombardment so many governments are shipping their citizens to Cyprus and flying them home from there. Young Nadia Nassar says her father, who is a doctor, wasn’t able to leave Lebanon himself but sent her home with a woman to look after her. The evacuations will continue over the coming days but with tens of thousands desperate to leave, it is proving an immensely difficult task.

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