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Published:July 20th, 2006 15:19 EST
Lebanon Response Report

Lebanon Response Report

By SOP newswire

Key Points

  • Our top priority remains the welfare and security of American citizens.

  • The United States is using all available means to ensure safe passage of American citizens out of Lebanon , including chartered commercial ships, U.S. military aircraft, and U.S. military ships en route to the Eastern Mediterranean .

Status Report

  • Approximately 3,700 American citizens have been transported out of Lebanon by the United States since Sunday, July 16, 2006.

  • This number includes more than 2,250 departees who left Beirut via the USS Nashville, the Orient Queen, and helicopter flights on Thursday, July 20, most of whom are Americans. Among those on the Orient Queen are the 341 passengers from Southern Lebanon . Our Embassy in Damascus has confirmed another 400 people made it out by land to Syria .

  • The first charter flight arrived today at Baltimore-Washington Airport , carrying 138 people. The Department of Health and Human Services, the Red Cross, Maryland state government, local, federal officials were present to provide assistance.

  • A convoy from Southern Lebanon brought 341 American citizens out of harm's way by bus and they are now on the Orient Queen for onward travel to Cyprus .

  • We are now ramping up operations at Mersin , Turkey to serve as an additional transportation hub for American citizens to serve a greater number of American citizens. The first group is expected to arrive in Mersin on Saturday.

  • We transported over 1,200 citizens out of Lebanon to Cyprus yesterday, Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    • 160 via helicopter flights (2 sorties of 2 helicopters each)

    • 1,040 Americans arrived in Cyprus on the Orient Queen

    • 10 via Canadian chartered ships

  • We will continue to transport Americans using all resources available. The assets assigned or contracted to help in this effort include:

    • Helicopter flights (4 sorties of 2 helicopters each)

    • The MS Ramah, a Saudi-owned, Panamanian-flagged, passenger vessel

    • The Orient Queen

    • The Vittoria M, a United States-chartered Italian passenger vessel

    • Canadian chartered ships

    • Canadian ship Blue Dawn

    • The USS Nashville

    • The USS Iwo Jima

    • The USS Whidbey Island

    • The USS Trenton

    • The USS Swift

  • We are working to provide onward travel from Cyprus . As of this morning, we have chartered 9 flights to provide for onward travel from Cyprus and arrangements are continuing. The first flight arrived in Baltimore , MD on July 20 with 138 American Citizens.

  • In this extraordinary case, Secretary Rice has directed the State Department to waive the requirement for American citizens departing Lebanon to reimburse the State Department for travel costs.

  • The State Department is working with our partners in the Department of Defense, the private sector, and our friends and allies around the world to assist transporting Americans in the safest manner possible.

  • What to do if you are in Lebanon or have loved ones in Lebanon ?

    • Information is available from with the Department of State by calling: 202-501-4444 (outside U.S. ) and 1-888-407-4747 (inside U.S. ) and at http://travel.state.gov