Desperate Foreigners Flee Libya Chaos

Governments scrambling to get their citizens out
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2011 10:25 PM CST
Updated Feb 24, 2011 1:23 AM CST
Hundreds of Turkish citizens working in Libya wait to board the Orhan Gazi, one of two ships sent by Turkey to evacuate Turkish nationals.   (AP Photo/Berk Ozkan, Anatolia)
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(Newser) – Countries around the world are scrambling to get their citizens out of Libya by air, sea, and land. Turkey has launched the biggest evacuation effort in its history, sending ships to take away the estimated 25,000 Turkish citizens who have been working in Libya, AP reports. Hundreds of Americans boarded a boat to take them to Malta yesterday, following a failed effort to evacuate them by air earlier this week. China is gearing up to evacuate its 30,000 workers in Libya, and Britain has sent planes for its nationals.

UK officials worry that many citizens are stranded in desert camps where supplies of food and water are running out. Relatives of trapped Brits were furious yesterday when a plane intended to rescue them broke down and sat on a London runway for 9 hours. Evacuees described scenes of chaos and violence at Tripoli's airport. "It was terrible. People fighting for their lives, scrambling over people, pushing, shoving, kicking, everything. It was a mess," one Maltese woman said.

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