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Cyprus continues to receive thousands of evacuees from Lebanon
2006-07-19 11:18:49

Nicosia, Jul 19 (CNA) -- Cyprus continues to receive thousands of foreigners fleeing war-ravaged Lebanon.

The epicentre of this mass exodus from the neighbouring country is the port of Larnanca, where cruise ship ''Crete'' is expected to arrive in the afternoon, carrying mainly Greek and Cypriot evacuees while later at 11:00 (local time) the also Greek cruise ship ''Alion'' will arrive carrying more evacuees.

At 03:00 in the morning, Ierapetra, a cruise ship chartered by the French government to carry French and other European nationals from Lebanon will arrive, at 05:00 a Cypriot cruise ship ''Serenate'' will arrive, while on hour later cruise ship ''Blue Dome'' will also arrive carrying more evacuees from Lebanon. British navy HMS York will arrive at 21:00 in the port of Limassol while HMS Gloucester is expected to arrive for the second time in Limassol some this afternoon to carry more British evacuees from Lebanon.

Furthermore, cruise ship ''Orient Queen'' is expected to arrive at 19:00 in Larnaca, carrying the first group of 800 American citizens fleeing Lebanon. Some of these people will be forced to stay in Cyprus until chartered flights are available to carry them to their preferred destinations.

Cyprus State Fairs Authorities, after a request by the US Embassy to Cyprus and following contacts with the Cypriot Foreign Ministry, has leased two halls in the premises where usually Cyprus International State Fair is organised in Cyprus capital Nicosia so that the US citizens will reside temporarily until their flights will be made available.

''We have leased them two air conditioned halls of 2,000 square metres to put their citizens as a transit hub,'' Cyprus State Fairs Authorities Director Kikis Petevis told CNA.

Petevis, who inspected the work done so far to prepare the halls since in some hours the first wave of American citizens will arrive in Cyprus, said that the State Fair premises have laboratories and catering services.

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