Peru revs up for airlift of refugees from Havana

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Peruvian Air Force planes were standing by at Lima airport Sunday to airlift some of the 10,000 refugees packed into the grounds of Peru's mission in Havana, diplomatic sources said.

Cuban authorities have started handing out passports to the refugees, who have been living in appalling conditions.

The Cuban government has said that those who have been issued passports or safe-conduct passes will be allowed to go home and wait until they are granted entry visas by another country, at which time they would be free to leave the island, Peru has already agreed to take 1,000 of the refugees.

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A Cuban doctor treating refugees in a temporary hospital across from the embassy said conditions there were "dangerously inadequate" and warned that if the number of refugees were not reduced drastically deaths and epidemic could be expected.

Apart from Peru, four other Latin American countries have agreed to take some of the refugees, as well as the United States and Spain.

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