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Entries in Evacuation (10)

Wednesday
Mar232011

Plant Workers Evacuated in Japan after Smoke Emerges from Unit 3

ABC News(TOKYO) -- Workers have been evacuated after black smoke was seen emerging from Unit 3 of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, Tokyo's utility company said Wednesday.

"Black steam is coming from reactor number 3," said a company spokesman through an NHK TV translator.  "We don't know the details but to be doubly sure of the safety of the operators, operating workers have been evacuated."

Operators of the power station have been desperately trying to cool the reactors and spent fuel pools at the plant after it was damaged by this month's tsunami, which knocked out power to the cooling systems.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar172011

US Begins Evacuating Americans in Japan; Issues Travel Warning

Sankei via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. State Department announced Wednesday night that it is sending charter aircraft to Japan to help Americans seeking to leave the country amid the threat of radiation exposure from damaged nuclear plants there.

The department said it will assist the families of U.S. diplomats in Japan as part of a move called "authorized departure," which is the voluntary evacuation of those families that wish to leave.  Seats on the charter aircraft will be available to both embassy families and private Americans.

U.S. consular officers are also at Japanese airports looking for Americans who need help getting out of the country.  The State Department said that commercial flights have resumed at all airports except Sendai Airport and that commercial seats are still available.

The families of diplomats that are eligible for departure are those stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the Consulate in Nagoya, and the language training center in Yokohama.  Up to 600 individuals are eligible from those three facilities.  Other diplomatic families stationed elsewhere in Japan are not eligible.

The voluntary evacuations come as the State Department bumped its travel alert for Japan to a warning, strongly advising U.S. citizens to defer travel to the country as uncertainty remains over radiation exposure.

Officials said there are still conflicting reports about the amount of radiation that has leaked from the damaged nuclear reactors, but the Department of Energy has deployed flying sensors to Japan to gather data about radiation levels on the ground.

"We are watching the situation at the plants continuously.  We’re trying to get some ground data on what the actual condition is," Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman said on a conference call.  As I think you know, [Energy] Secretary Chu made available the detectors that will pick up possible contaminations on the ground.  We sent those over; they are flying around now and we hope to have data from that."

"We've heard a lot of conflicting reports.  Obviously there are elevated levels of radiation at the reactors.  We are in consultations, comparing notes.  The International Atomic Energy Agency is sending out regular reports, were reading them carefully.  And many colleagues professionally have been consulting with each other as well," Poneman added.

The U.S. also added to its warning to Americans Wednesday to stay at least 50 miles from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and officials urged Americans to take "prudent precautions" even if they aren’t in that area.

"Given the situation, we recommended the evacuation of American citizens to at least 50 miles in keeping with the guidelines applied in the United States," Under Secretary of State for Management Pat Kennedy told reporters.  "Since the continued or increased release of wind-blown radioactive material cannot be ruled out, American citizens in Japan are advised to take prudent precautions against potentially dangerous exposure.  As a general matter, residents in areas farther from Fukushima prefecture face less risk of significant exposure, but changing weather conditions and wind direction mean that radiation levels in the future might become elevated."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar142011

New Explosion Reported at Japanese Nuclear Power Plant

DigitalGlobe via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- A hydrogen explosion reportedly ripped through another reactor at the Japanese nuclear plant where a reactor exploded Saturday, deepening a crisis government officials are calling the worst the nation has faced since World War II.

TV Asahi reported Monday's explosion at Unit 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi Plant, which officials had warned could happen after Unit 1 exploded on Saturday.

Officials from Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said the reactor's containment was not damaged and although radiation was leaked, levels were low.

NISA officials also report that reactor no. 2 at Daiichi plant has lost its cooling ability and pressure inside is rising.

The news came as Japanese officials issued and then quickly canceled a tsunami warning following aftershocks along the nation's already earthquake-ravaged eastern coast.

Japanese authorities have been working frantically to prevent a meltdown at a series of nuclear reactors in Fukushima.  The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has sent two of its officials with expertise in boiling water nuclear reactors to assist containment and management efforts.

Unit 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant had been one focus of concern, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano had said the government knew an explosion there was possible.

Workers had tried releasing radioactive air and injecting sea water to reduce pressure and cool the reactor down to avoid an explosion like the one Saturday, an explosion at Unit 1 that injured four workers.

Already, at least 170,000 people have been evacuated in a 12-mile radius around the Fukushima plants. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar022011

UN Calls for 'Mass Evacuation' of Libyan Refugees

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Department of State(NEW YORK) -- The United Nations called for the mass evacuation of people escaping Libya for Tunisia, the BBC reports. 

The UN reported that nearly 75,000 people have left for Tunisia since social and political disruption began in Libya and 40,000 more are still waiting for entry.

The UN High Committee for Refugees is calling for governments to pull together resources in a "massive humanitarian evacuation" of the thousands of individuals now stranded in the midst of the great exodus from Libya. 

Now that Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi has refused to leave, despite opposition to his decades-long rule, the UN has voted to suspend the nation from its Human Rights Council.  The organization justified its decision citing "gross and systemic violation of human rights," according to the BBC report.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb282011

Egyptian Warship Arrives in Tunisia to Transport Libyan Evacuees

Photo Courtesy - U.S. State Department(ZARZIS, Tunisia) -- An Egyptian warship arrived at the Tunisian port of Zarzis Monday to start transporting the thousands of Egyptian workers who fled the violence in Libya back home to Egypt.

Although an estimated 20,000 Egyptians are massed at the border seeking to return home, the vessel will only be able to hold about 1,000 passengers.  To help with the shortfall, close to two dozen flights may be planned to leave for Cairo on Monday as well.

It is estimated that 1,000 refugees are crossing into Tunisia every hour seeking to escape the violent clashes that have erupted between anti-government protesters and security forces in Libya.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb242011

Slow Boat to Malta For Americans Trapped in Libya

Photo Courtesy - U.S. State Department(MALTA) -- The United Kingdom has dispatched military aircraft, charter planes and the warship HMS Cumberland to evacuate Britons from Libya. The SAS -- Britain's most highly-trained special forces -- are reportedly on standby. Italy sent two huge cargo aircraft to bring their citizens home, according to wire reports.

Meanwhile, the citizens of the world's most powerful country find themselves in a different boat altogether -- one that's not moving anytime soon.

After Libya denied a U.S. request on Tuesday to use a charter plane to airlift Americans out of the country, the State Department decided to evacuate Americans by sea. The U.S. government charted a 600-person ferry, the Maria Dolores, to take Americans to the nearby island nation of Malta.

Americans arrived at the dock Wednesday and were processed onto the boat, but the ferry did not leave because of inclement weather. Although other boats are battling the rough seas, the ferry will not be leaving Thursday, according to the ferry operator Virtu.

The captain of the boat will reassess the weather Friday morning. Until then, the 285 people on board, including 127 Americans, will stay on the ship. The passengers are reportedly being well taken care of, being given meals, pillows, blankets and sleeping bags.

The State Department said Thursday that Libyan security was guarding the port.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb232011

US Begins Evacuating Americans from Libya by Ferry

Photo Courtesy - Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Amid fears of a civil war in Libya, the U.S. will begin evacuating thousands of American citizens from the country Wednesday.

The U.S. embassy in Tripoli issued a statement Tuesday saying a government-chartered ferry will transport Americans from Tripoli to the island of Malta.  The ferry will depart from the As-shahab port no later than 3:00 p.m., and those seeking to leave Libya must bring valid travel documents and should arrive at the pier no later than 10:00 a.m.

Americans who request evacuation will also be required to sign paperwork agreeing to repay the U.S. government for the cost of the trip, which is unknown at the moment.

Demonstrations began in Libya early last week as protesters called for the ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.  Since then, violence has escalated between the anti-government protesters and security forces, leaving hundreds dead and hundreds more injured.

Gadhafi refuses to step down and has vowed to fight on to his "last drop of blood" and die a "martyr."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb032011

US Urges Americans Wishing to Leave Egypt to Go to Airport ASAP

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. State Department is calling for U.S. citizens wishing to leave the protest-filled streets of Egypt to report to airports immediately as a fourth day of evacuations gets underway Thursday.

The State Department tweeted Thursday, "U.S. citizens WISHING to depart #Egypt on USG flight should proceed to airport asap AFTER the morning end of curfew."

The agency told ABC News it will continue to organize charter flights as long as there is a demand.  It had previously tweeted that "additional U.S. government flights after Thursday are unlikely," but that message came before the full extent of the violent clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Wednesday came to full light.  Only about 200 people -- a little more than one full flight -- left the country on Wednesday.

Since Monday, when evacuations began, over 1,900 Americans have left Egypt.  An estimated 50,000 Americans are registered with the U.S. Embassy as being in Egypt.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb012011

Evacuation Flights Continue as Americans Leave Egypt

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- The evacuation of American citizens from the protest-ridden streets of Egypt is set to continue Tuesday with eight flights expected to depart from Cairo, according to a U.S. Embassy official in Larnaca, Cyprus.

The official, who was not named, told ABC News that two flights may land in Larnaca, while the others will go to Athens, Greece, Istanbul, Turkey and Frankfurt, Germany.  From there, passengers will have to arrange their own way back to the U.S.

The departing planes will be able to transport a total of 1,350 evacuees Tuesday, the official said.

On Monday, an estimated 1,200 Americans were evacuated from Egypt.  The U.S. State Department says there are approximately 52,000 Americans living and working in Egypt, many of whom are expected to leave the country if the situation becomes unbearable.

Political unrest has consumed Egypt for the past week as hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets demanding the removal of President Hosni Mubarak.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan312011

Crisis in Egypt: First Evacuation Flight Leaves

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- The first chartered flight evacuating U.S. citizens from Egypt took off from the turbulent country Monday as protesters organized for a million-man march against President Hosni Mubarak.

The flight is expected to arrive in Lanarca, Cyprus, later Monday, State Department officials said.  Five additional outbound planes are also being filled, officials said.

Hundreds of Americans remain at Cairo's airport, hoping to leave the country as it enters its seventh day of protests.

Mubarak, the embattled president of the world's largest Arab state, swore in a new cabinet Monday, according to state television.  On Friday, Mubarak dissolved his government.

His move on Saturday to appoint a vice president, Omar Suleiman, for the first time in his 30 years of authoritarian rule resonated with protesters as another way for Mubarak to cling to power.

The new cabinet is not likely to quell the thousands of anti-government demonstrators calling for his ouster.

A coalition of opposition groups is organizing a million-man march to take place Tuesday.  Opposition groups want to march from Tahrir, or Liberation Square, to force Mubarak to step down by Friday.  They are also calling for a strike, though banks, schools and the stock market are shut down for a second working day.

Police are back out after virtually disappearing from the streets late Friday, leaving a vacuum in security that was filled by looters, vandals, and the release of prisoners from the country's jails.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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