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Nations struggle to evacuate citizens
by ALJ
Wednesday Jul 19th, 2006 6:12 AM
Nations around the world are struggling to evacuate tens of thousands of their citizens from Lebanon as Israel continues its bombardment of the country.
Britain, along with other European countries and the United States, is using Cyprus - which lies 16km away - as the hub of their operations for full-scale evacuations as the fighting intensifies.

The RAF base of Akrotiri is helping to co-ordinate plans among 15 countries trying to get their nationals out.

More than 2,400 Americans are being evacuated by air and sea on Wednesday, the first of up to 8,000 to be taken from Lebanon.

Canada said it would start evacuating its citizens by sea on Wednesday.

A Brazilian air force plane collected about 100 Brazilians who had reached Turkey from Beirut.

Six British ships, including two aircraft carriers, stood by to rescue British nationals.

The destroyer HMS Gloucester arrived in Limassol in Cyprus on Wednesday with 180 people from Beirut, and British prime minister Tony Blair said about 5,000 would be moved by the end of the week.

Phased evacuation

The evacuees on board the HMS Gloucester, which arrived in the southern port of Limassol were mainly "priority medical cases", many of them women and children.