More than 2,400 Americans have contacted U.S. officials seeking government-chartered evacuation flights from Egypt as anti-government protests continue to roil the country, the State Department said Monday.
The department said more than 220 have already left on the special flights and more are scheduled. It expects to evacuate about 900 U.S. citizens from Egypt on Monday and another 1,000 on Tuesday. Amid the chaos at the airport, the department warned those wishing to take the flights from Cairo to Cyprus, Greece or Turkey that they should prepare for lengthy waits at the airport and they should bring food, water and other necessities.
Assistant Secretary of State Janice Jacobs told reporters Sunday that she expects it will take several flights over the coming days to handle the number of Americans who want to leave Egypt, where rioters are threatening to overturn the ruling regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Jacobs said the U.S. will have enough flights to take out all American citizens and dependents who want to leave. And the U.S. may also send charter planes to other cities in Egypt, such as Luxor, if there are a number of Americans stranded there. She said Americans with tickets on commercial airlines should first contact those carriers about getting out.
Americans taking the charter will be billed for the cost of the flight and will need to make their own travel arrangements home after arriving in Europe.
According to the State Department there are about 52,000 Americans registered with the embassy in Cairo. Officials noted, however, that many people do not register — or deregister when they leave — and some Americans may not want to leave.