Swedish ferry docks in Cyprus
TT/Adam Ewing · 19 Jul 2006, 09:36
Published: 19 Jul 2006 09:36 GMT+02:00
Families with children got off first, many crying from the 10-hour trip from Lebanon. A pregnant woman was taken to the hospital for observation, but most suffered from at most headaches and ear pains.
Swedish Rescue Services Agency spokesman Jan Tapani said the evacuation went very well.
Those arriving in Larnaca were met with food and drink and a medical staff, while the second floor of the arrival area was filled with mattresses for those needing rest.
Some of the passengers were aboard the transport ship for 16 hours and no food. With temperatures reaching 35 degrees Celsius during the day and little shade to take cover in, the ride was a difficult journey.
Apart from the Swedes, 116 Norwegians, 26 Finns, 2 Danes, 32 Lebanese, 186 Americans, a Turkish citizen and a French citizen made it to Larnaca on the ship.
"Normally the trip takess between six and eight hours, but we were forced to take another route at the request of the Israelis who control the waterways," said the Norwegian Foreign Ministry representative, Haakon Svane, to Norwegian news agency NTB.
"We have sick, pregnant, elderly people and children on board," he said.
"Many are tired but glad to out of the area."
Malin Blank, a Swede who arrived in Lebanon last week before fighting began and who arrived in Cyprus on Tuesday morning, said the trip wasn't pleasant and that she and many others spent the night on the deck in the humid and cold air.
"We feel relieved that we were able to come on the boat," Blank said, adding that while the Swedish consulate did a great job managing the crisis, the Swedish Foreign Ministry could have organized better.
Another ship chartered by Sweden to evacuate its citizens was due to enter Beirut port at 9:00 a.m. Swedish time after being stopped by Israeli forces, according to TT.
The vessel will have room for 1,200 people and could arrive in Larnaca at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday.