Seventy out of over 120 Ghanaians living in Lebanon had been evacuated to Syria for onward flight to Ghana. "Initially, between 120 and 150 Ghanaian nationals were expected to be evacuated from Lebanon to 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," a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said in Parliament on Friday.
In a statement in Parliament, she said, "As at 06:00 hours on Thursday, July 27, 2006, 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 Akilaja Olufemi Akiwumi, respectively."
Ms Botchwey said the Ministries of National Security and Interior, the Police Service, the Director for Immigration, and the office of the Co-ordinator, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) had all been informed of the evacuation exercise, and expected time of arrival of the evacuees in Ghana.
She said arrangements were being made for their reception and any immediate assistance they would require before they were reunited with their families in the country.
The Deputy Minister expressed government's appreciation to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for their prompt response and assistance in evacuating Ghanaian nationals from a crisis situation.
As a result of the on-going crisis involving Israel and Lebanon, and the ensuing humanitarian tragedy, government is working with the IOM to evacuate Ghanaian nationals in Lebanon, who like other nations, have been caught up in the bombardments.
Lebanon has come under Israeli bombardment recently. The Jewish State said it was pursuing Hezbollah, pro-Palestinian armed movement, who was using its neighbour as a base for hailing rockets into her territory.