The U.S. State Department is evacuating about 1,200 Americans from Egypt on nine flights today, almost half the 2,600 people who have contacted the department seeking assistance, spokesman Philip J. Crowley said.
Six more evacuation flights are planned for tomorrow, Crowley told reporters in Washington.
“We are employing every communications medium -- websites, e-mail, call centers, radio, and TV -- to get information out to U.S. citizens on the ground,” Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Janice Jacobs said yesterday. “U.S. citizens currently in Egypt should consider leaving as soon as they can safely do so.”
The department is sending additional personnel to Egypt to help U.S. nationals, Crowley said.
The Defense Department has provided a plane to help with the evacuations and is reviewing contingency plans for dealing with any spillover from the turmoil in Egypt “in case they are needed,” a Pentagon spokesman, Marine Colonel David Lapan, said at the Pentagon. He declined to provide details.
The State Department also is chartering aircraft to help U.S. citizens leave Egypt, using postings on the Twitter Inc. social network to publicize a website, telephone number (1-888-407-4747) and e-mail address (EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov) for Americans stranded in the country. Another Twitter posting provided a separate number (1-202-501-444) for people concerned about a “U.S. citizen loved one” in Egypt.
The department warned on Twitter that “Americans should prepare for a substantial wait at the airport in Cairo -- bring food, water & other necessities.”
The airport would remain open 24 hours a day, the State Department said.