• Sweden edition
 

Mobile technology aids Swedish evacuation

Published: 20 Jul 2006 14:29 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Jul 2006 14:29 GMT+02:00

Thoroughout the process there have been reports of chaos, disorganisation and a lack of information, blamed partly on the fact that Sweden only has a consulate, rather than an embassy, in Beirut.

But the Swedish evacuation effort, supported by mobile phone technology, has been held up as a "model of order" by commentators in other countries such as Canada, Australia and the US which, on Thursday, were only beginning their own evacuations.

The Toronto Star described how many Canadian families gathering in the sweltering heat were subjected to "the stress of seeing children or spouses left off the list" followed by hours of arguing.

"At about the same time, Swedish citizens had gathered in an air-conditioned hotel," wrote the paper.

"Their names were placed on a list only after they boarded buses that shuttled them to a first boat, which carried 1,600 Swedes to safety, and a second one that ferried away 300."

The Canberra Times reported that the Australian effort was being unfavourably compared with that of a number of countries including Sweden, while USA Today slammed America's apparent inaction, pointing out that three ships had been chartered by Sweden to carry citizens to Cyprus.

According to foreign ministry spokeswoman Nina Ersman, text messaging has been a major tool in the Swedish evacuation operation.

"In the last week we have sent out five text messages to everyone in Lebanon who is registered with a Swedish mobile network," she told The Local.

Telia's Jan Sjöberg explained that its mobile subscribers who were in Lebanon were sent an SMS as early as last Friday, which told them that an evacuation would be taking place.

Since then, further messages have told people to get to a certain hotel at a certain time, depending upon their priority status.

"The GSM technology allows us to do this," said Sjöberg.

"We have roaming agreements with two operators in Lebanon. Around 300 of our customers who were in Lebanon would have got the message as soon as they turned on their phones. We also told them that all calls and text messages to Sweden would be free."

The latest SMS was sent on Wednesday night to the last people still in Beirut.

Nevertheless, with over a hundred Swedish citizens still in the most dangerous southern region of Lebanon, Sweden's Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not yet speaking of a successful operation.

"We have now evacuated everyone who was in Beirut," said Nina Ersman.

She told The Local that the operation had been "enormously hard work" for the Swedish officials sent to the region, but that everyone involved understood that criticism was part of the job.

"Almost 5,000 people, who are all in a state of anguish, have been evacuated from a war zone. Of course there is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion," she said.

Some 200 Swedish personnel were sent to key locations in the region, such as the Lebanese capital Beirut, Damascus in Syria, Larnaca in Cyprus and ports in Turkey, to organise the evacuation.

Foreign ministry officials, police officers, social services staff and experts from the Swedish Rescue Services Agency are in the area, and Nina Ersman said that staff will remain in Beirut until every Swede is evacuated from southern Lebanon.

"What we learned from the tsunami has helped us this time," she explained.

"We made some major changes which have meant that we've had far more people trained and prepared to be sent out."

Discuss this topic!

Louis Roper (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Elections 2014
Liberals hint at bringing back conscription
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Liberals hint at bringing back conscription

With Russia becoming "all the more aggressive", the Liberal Party leader and education minister, Jan Björklund, has suggested that Sweden may have to reintroduce conscription. READ  

Swede mauled in bear hunt gone wrong

Swede mauled in bear hunt gone wrong

Roles were reversed in a bear hunt on Thursday night, when a Swedish hunter was attacked by his prey, leaving the man in hospital in a serious condition. READ  

How immigration became a key election issue
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

How immigration became a key election issue

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt sparked a furore with recent comments that put rising refugee costs in focus before the elections. But why did he bring it up, and will it affect the outcome? READ  

 Saab carmaker fails in bid for receivership
Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Saab carmaker fails in bid for receivership

A Swedish court has rejected a request from the Chinese-owned automaker NEVS, which owns the financially-troubled Swedish brand Saab, to be placed in receivership until it could attract new financing. READ  

Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
The view of Kebnekaise's southern peak, soon to be the second highest peak in the country. Photo: Stockholm University

Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year

Mount Kebnekaise's southern peak will no longer be the highest point in Sweden by 2015, researchers predicted on Thursday, adding that the change will spell a major blow for tourism in the region. READ  

Gothenburg preschools end school photography
Moments like these are a thing of the past for Gothenburg preschoolers. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Gothenburg preschools end school photography

Preschool managers in Gothenburg have decided to ban class photos at preschools in their municipality, citing the different economical situations of families as one reason for the change. READ  

Presented by Stockholm Business Region
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
This is Stockholm. Don’t worry - be happy. File photo: ASIFE/iStockphoto

Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm

Many consider Sweden a pretty safe place to live, but what if an icicle pierces your little toe or a ray of midnight sun sets fire to your kettle? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered when it comes to sorting out insurance in Sweden. READ  

Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
The cast of The Cold Swedish Winter.

Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show

The Local chats to UK funnyman Danny Robins about his new radio show The Cold Swedish Winter, which is making waves on BBC radio. He talks elk, moose, and what it means to be a Swedophile. READ  

Allergic Swedes demand separate metro carriages
Peanut photo Shutterstock

Allergic Swedes demand separate metro carriages

A Swedish allergies association has asked Stockholm public transport officials to set aside certain carriages on the metro for those with allergies - banning nuts, animals, and strong fragrances in transit. READ  

Most Swiss want Sweden to be next door
Flag photo: Shutterstock

Most Swiss want Sweden to be next door

Who said there were hard feelings between the oft-confused Swiss and Swedes? A new survey shows that Swiss people would rather have the land of Abba as their neighbour over anyone else in the EU. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

746
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se