Sunday, 6 February 2011

10,000 rescued as evacuation set to end

KUALA LUMPUR: The evacuation of Malaysian students may soon see an end with 10,000 expected to have been moved by the end of yesterday.

Those close to the operation believe it will take only another day, meaning all Malaysians who want to leave Egypt would have done so by the end of today.

Several left Egypt on commercial flights while others chose to remain.

The process, then, will only entail bringing Malaysians evacuated to Jeddah back to Malaysia.

In Cairo, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Senator A. Kohilan Pillay said yesterday that quite a number had decided to remain in Egypt despite thousands of protesters taking to the streets daily.

"Some of them have families here, while others are final-year students who do not want to go before they completed their degrees.

"We advised them to leave but many refused.

"We can only hope that they change their minds and pray for the best," he told the New Sunday Times in a telephone interview.

Kohilan, who is in Cairo to oversee the evacuation, said two Royal Malaysian Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft were flying between Cairo and Jeddah to evacuate Malaysians, while another was ferrying Malaysians from Alexandria.

Also being flown are two aircraft from Malaysia Airlines and two more from AirAsia.

Kohilan said the government had also temporarily suspended plans to evacuate citizens using KD Bunga Mas 5, a Royal Malaysian Navy auxiliary ship.

"For now, we have enough aircraft for the evacuation, but the ship will be on standby."

He said apart from minor delays, the evacuation was going smoothly and had not been affected by curfews imposed by Egyptian authorities.

Asked about the students' educational future in if the situation worsened, Kohilan said he was confident that the unrest would not continue indefinitely and that the students would soon return to their studies.

RMAF chief Gen Tan Sri Rodzali Daud said the three Hercules aircraft would mount nine daily flights between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

He said the flights had faced only minor problems, such as finding time slots due to air traffic and airport congestion.

Rodzali said Bunga Mas 5 was expected to reach Port Taufiq in the Suez Gulf at 9.10pm Malaysian time yesterday. - The NST

Pix above: First-year Malaysian varsity students boarding an RMAF C-130 Hercules aircraft bound for Jeddah at Cairo International Airport yesterday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good one in particular. We're seriously grateful for this straight answers