Travellers stranded in the midst of Egypt crisis

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised Australians to avoid travelling to Egypt as political turmoil left people stranded at Cairo airport over the weekend.

Tourists who travelled to the airport faced mass traffic on the roads and further delays in airport queues after staff walked off the job to join in anti-government protests, The Herald Sun reported.

A US retiree Dorothy Reddy told the source she was in the passport inspection line for up to two hours and advanced by just under three metres.

"We came Friday, for a 12-day cruise on the River Nile," Ms Reddy said.

"It took hours to reach the hotel.

“Now they’ve cancelled everything and they are trying to get us out of here.

"The only thing I saw were the Pyramids – from my hotel window [and] I think we’re flying to Amsterdam… Or anywhere. As long as we leave this place."

Despite the delays the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised Australians in Egypt to leave “if it is safe to do so”.

According to the department’s statement, the situation in which the Egyptian army is patrolling the streets to intimidate possible arson and looting attacks could last for some time.

“Australians in Egypt should pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety and security risks,” the statement read.

“We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners.”

Following the departments recommendations, tourists in Egypt looking to stay in the loop have faced difficulties accessing outlets with reports of disruptions to communication networks including mobile phones and the internet.

Travellers faced further turmoil overnight with the 4.00pm to 8.00am curfew introduced by the Egyptian government which forced many stranded to take shelter in the airport.

According to the source an airport worker cautioned travellers to leave before nightfall because “it will be night soon and you do not want to be outside when night falls”.

“It’s very dangerous,” he warned.

Two young Australian women are among those stranded at Cairo Airport and they told Ninemsn that they fear for their lives.

22 year old Cassie who is travelling with her 19 year old sister Michelle said that she never felt so desperate in her life.

“There are people out the front of the airport with machine guns killing people,” Cassie said.

“They are fighting over the smallest things — like water.

“There’s no police, no military.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said up to 870 Australians are registered to be in Egypt but the reality is that there could be thousands.

While the US and Iraqi governments have begun organising evacuation plans for their nationals, Australia, Britain, France and China still have no plans for emergency removal.

The Australian department has however advised travellers requiring emergency assistance in Egypt to contact the Embassy on +202 2575 0444 or the Consular Emergency Centre on +61 1300 555 135.

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
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