More than 20,000 Chinese evacuated from Libya

Updated: 2011-02-27 16:21
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BEIJING - More than 20,000 Chinese nationals had been evacuated from unrest-wracked Libya as of Sunday, according to China's Foreign Ministry.

About 1,400 had returned to China while 3,400 were on their way to a third country, said a statement from the ministry.

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An estimated 15,200 were temporarily in a third country: 7,200 on the Greek island of Crete, 2,100 in Malta and 5,900 on the Tunisian island of Djerba, said the Chinese ministry.

Aircraft chartered by the Chinese government were scheduled to fly the evacuees back to China. Aviation authorities decided Saturday to dispatch 15 aircraft a day for the next two weeks to fly Chinese evacuees home.

The Chinese embassy in Greece would also charter flights to send Chinese nationals home from Crete, said the statement.

"Almost all Chinese citizens have been pulled out of eastern Libya, from the area in and around Benghazi," it said.

The ministry, other departments of the Chinese government and Chinese companies were working to evacuate Chinese nationals from other parts of Libya, it said.

Tens of thousands of Chinese nationals were working or living in Libya when the unrest took hold earlier this month. Most of them are employees of Chinese companies doing business in Libya.