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Egypt Evacuees Land in Cyprus

People evacuated from Egypt at the Larnaca, Cyprus airport, January 31 2011
People evacuated from Egypt at the Larnaca, Cyprus airport, January 31 2011

Airlines continue to evacuate people stranded in Egypt, with nearby countries arranging round-the-clock flights. Two flights landed in Larnaca on Cyprus Monday.

Like Athens and Istanbul, Larnaca has become a destination for evacuation flights from Egypt.

U.S. Embassy staff in Cyprus are here to oversee the arrival and transfer of American citizens, in an operation that could last through the week.

James Ellickson-Brown, the public affairs officer of the U.S. Embassy, says his team is ready for the influx of evacuees.

"We’re prepared," said Ellickson-Brown. "We have been basically mobilized since Saturday evening getting ready for this. We have about 30 people out here, and this is job number one at the embassy right now - taking care of these Americans that come here."

A flight from Egypt arrived late on Monday evening, carrying 180 passengers. Earlier in the day, 42 people from Cairo arrived in Cyprus onboard a U.S. military plane. Most were U.S. citizens working at foreign embassies in the Middle East and Africa.

Evacuation flights are expected to depart Egypt around-the-clock, with teams at Larnaca ready to assist. James Ellickson-Brown of the U.S. Embassy says he is getting ready for more arrivals.

"I understand that about 1,000 American citizens contacted the embassy, indicating they were also interested in being evacuated," he said.

Larnaca is about 90 minutes flying time from Cairo. The airport here is on standby to receive evacuation flights. Officials say that majority of evacuations from Egypt to Cyprus are expected to be U.S. citizens.

An estimated 50,000 Americans live and work in Egypt. Other countries evacuating citizens include Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, China, Greece, India, Iraq, Israel, Japan and Turkey.