There have been no reports or injury of casualties involving the Ghanaian community in the current crisis between Israel and Lebanon, says Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD.
Making a statement in Parliament yesterday, Ms Botchwey said the government was working in collaboration with the International Organisation for migration (IOM) to evacuate Ghanaians in Lebanon who, like other nationals, have been caught in the bombardment.
She said since the onset of the crisis, Ghana's Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, had been in close consultation with the Ghanaian Community through the Honorary Consul in Beirut, towards "arriving at a comprehensive arrangement for the evacuation of our nationals from Lebanon and Syria to Ghana."
She said initially between 120 and 150 Ghanaians were expected to be evacuated from Lebanon and Syria. However, information received indicates that only 70 out of the over 120 who had expressed their willingness to be evacuated turned up for the evacuation exercise," she said.
"As at 06.00 on Thursday, July 27 the 70 Ghanaians were assisted to cross the border into Syria and were received by our Ambassadors to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, their Excellencies Alhaji Rashid Bawa and Akikja Olufemi Akiwumi, respectively. Also present to receive them were officials of IOM," Ms Botchwey said.
She said the ministry had been assured by IOM officials in Accra that the Ghanaian evacuees would be airlifted from Syria today to arrive in Accra tomorrow, July 30, at 12.30am.
Ms Botchwey said the Ministries of National Security and the Interior, the Police Service, the Director for Immigration and the office of the Co-ordinator, NADMO, had been informed of the evacuation exercise and the expected time of arrival.
To this end, Ms. Botchwey said arrangements had been made for their reception and any immediate assistance they would require before reuniting them with their families in the country.
Ms Botchwey expressed the government's appreciation to the IOM for the prompt response and assistance in evacuating the Ghanaians and other nationals from the crisis region.
Meanwhile, Parliament was expected to rise yesterday after the 12-week meeting of its second session.
Mr. Felix Owusu-Adjapong, the Majority Leader, said the House would reconvene on October 24 for the third meeting of the second session up to December.
Saying that all unfinished businesses of the current meeting were deemed carried over to the next meeting, he urged the committees to take advantage of the recess period to complete their respective referrals.
At the time of going to press, the house was on an extended sitting to conclude a number of businesses, including ratification of loan agreements with a number of financial institutions for various projects.