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U.S. Consular Officers Evacuate Hundreds from Libya


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U.S. Consular Officers assisted in evacuating hundreds from Libya in February 2011 during the civil unrest.

Published in: News & Politics, Travel
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U.S. Consular Officers Evacuate Hundreds from Libya

  1. Around noon on February22, 2011, a call came to U.S.Embassy London asking forvolunteers to help with theevacuation of hundreds ofpeople from Libya.
  2. Within hours, four U.S. consular officers were on their way to the island ofMalta in the Mediterranean Sea. Two hours after landing, the officers andthe rest of the evacuation team boarded the Maria Dolores ferry and beganthe eight-hour journey to the Port of Tripoli, reaching Libya just 21 hoursafter receiving the request for evacuation assistance.
  3. Over 300 people from the United States and several other countrieswelcomed the arrival of the ferry in Tripoli on February 23. They boardedthe ship, but it was unable to leave the port because of poor weatherconditions and high winds.
  4. Thanks to good planning by the ferry crew and staff from U.S. Embassies inTripoli and Valletta, passengers on the ferry had food, water, diapers, medicine,and blankets.
  5. The officers kept morale high by answeringquestions and giving status updates while the ferrywas docked in Tripoli.
  6. Teachers on board organized games andactivities for the children, and theconsular officers set up a prayer room.
  7. For two days, they were uncertain as to when the ferry would be able to leaveport, and they all worked together to make the best of a tough situation.
  8. On February 25, theweather improved, andthe ferry was able toleave Tripoli. Despitesome sea sickness,everyone on boardarrived safely in Maltathat evening.
  9. Over the next several days, officersprovided consular assistance, includingmeeting evacuees at the airport andhelping Americans and their families getto the United States.
  10. Over the next several days, officersprovided consular assistance, including Secretary Clinton even called tomeeting evacuees at the airport and encourage and congratulate thehelping Americans and their families get staff!to the United States.
  11. During this time, U.S. Embassy London’s consular officers worked withconsular officers from other Embassies to help as many people as possibleget home quickly and safely.
  12. Although the evacuationlasted longer than originallyplanned and everyone hadto overcome manychallenges, EmbassyLondon’s consular officerswere proud to be an integralpart of the operation. They,together with theircolleagues from otherembassies, helpedhundreds of people escapeto safety in in Malta andeventually to reunite withtheir families. Theevacuation was a successfuland rewarding experiencefor those involved.
  13. “The most fulfilling experience for me as a Foreign Service Officer is helpingAmerican citizens abroad,” said one officer.
  14. “…It was an honor to work with my fellow colleagues on theevacuation from Libya. We appreciated the positive tone andsupport of everyone involved.”
  15. The consular officers celebrated the successful evacuation at theU.S. Embassy in Valletta. Martin Sheen was in Malta and was ableto attend the celebration.