Image via WikipediaThe publicly available report we’ve seen put the private American citizen population in Egypt at approximately 35,000. But news outlets are floating numbers as high as 50,000 – 80,000.
Since not all Americans register at the embassy, and there are presumably American tourists in the usual destinations around the country, the potential number of evacuees is quite impossible to pin down. But we suspect that the Egypt evacuation may potentially dwarf the 15,000 American citizens from Lebanon in 2006, one of the largest overseas evacuations of American citizens in recent history. An evacuation normally starts in accordance with the embassy’s emergency action plan (EAP), using scheduled airlines, chartered flights, or surface transportation. The Lebanon evacuation of course, was a “noncombatant evacuation operation” (NEOs) conducted with the US military whereas, this one in Egypt right now, is a civilian evacuation.
Janice L. Jacobs, the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs did an on-the-record briefing on the evacuation of US citizens in Egypt. Important points below:
- Department of State has authorized the voluntary departure from Egypt of dependents and non-emergency employees.
- On private Amcits – there are thousands of potential evacuees out of Egypt, but no real numbers.
- Lack of internet access makes embassy job more difficult; radio announcements will be used to reach Americans.
- Flights to evacuation points will begin departing Egypt today, Monday, January 31st
- Three places in Europe being looked at as safe havens are Istanbul (TURKEY), Nicosia (CYPRUS), and Athens (GREECE).
- Anticipate that the State Dept will probably […] run several of these evacuation flights over a number of days.
- State Dept is sending additional staff into Egypt and will also locate additional officers at the safe haven points (we are guessing that the additional staff would be consular officers or officers with prior crisis experience).
- State Dept has a 24/7 task force going. Call centers are taking down inquiries as they come in.
- Within the US or Canada — call 1-888-407-4747.
- Calling from outside the US — call 1-202-501-4444.
- Embassy Contact email: EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov
- Evacuees to sign promissory notes per regulations; evacuees are expected to pay for their trips.
- The charter flights are not intended to supplant Americans’ existing commercial travel plans. Citizens with ticketed flights should contact their airlines.
- Number of Embassy personnel and dependents to be evacuated – “probably around a thousand people, but I’m – really, I’m just guessing and I would much prefer to get back to you with a number.“
U.S. citizens in Egypt who require assistance, or those who are concerned that their U.S. citizen loved one in Egypt may require assistance, should contact the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy at the following email address: EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov or by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or outside the United States and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.
Also this one from State: We are aware that not all U.S. citizens have internet or cell phone service in Egypt. We do know that many Americans are in contact with friends and family outside of Egypt. Because of communications interruptions, we ask that family and friends in the United States assist us by relaying information to their loved ones in Egypt directly. The most up-to-date information – including evacuation instructions – can be found on our website at travel.state.gov.
Read the entire briefing here.