The United States navy landing craft USS Coronado arrived in Piraeus near Athens on Thursday (29 July) with 306 foreign evacuees from Lebanon.
GV & SV Refugee ship USS Coronado arrives in Piraeus with refugees lining deck rails (4 shots)
CU US flag flying from ship
SVs Refugees disembark (3 shots)
CU Sailor carries child off ship
SV Other refugees off
CU Sailor reunites child with mother
CU Naval officer speaking to newsmen
SV Baggage lowered ashore
SV PAN UP FROM Row of suitcases on dock TO ship a quayside
OFFICER: "As it turned out there were in excess of 300."
REPORTER: "Is there any contingency for a further evacuation?"
OFFICER: "None is planned to my knowledge at this time."
Reuters News Agency reports that conditions in Beirut have improved since the original organisation of the evacuation. Most parts of the city now have a few hours of electricity every day and some running water as a result of an agreement between the two sides to ship fuel from leftist held territory to a generating plant in a right-wing area.
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Background: The United States navy landing craft USS Coronado arrived in Piraeus near Athens on Thursday (29 July) with 306 foreign evacuees from Lebanon.
SYNOPSIS: The evacuees included 117 Americans, 21 Britons, 13 French and seven Germans. But at least three people who tried to leave Beirut in the evacuation were seized at the dockside by the leftist authorities and taken away. A United States embassy spokesman said the three were an Iraqi student, an Egyptian and a stateless Palestinian girl bound for England.
Among the first to go ashore to a temporary reception centre at the dockside were 25 members of the United States embassy in Beirut. They included the United States special ambassador Talcott Seelye who only arrived in Lebanon four weeks ago to replace former ambassador Francis Meloy who was kidnapped and murdered. Most of the evacuees said they intended to return to Lebanon when the situation improved. Frau Howdi Howrani, a German dentist whose Lebanese husband is also a dentist, said the family had no breed, water or food, people were queueing for a piece of bread and most of the population had no jobs.
Frau Howrani said they decided to leave with their two-year old daughter when their clinic was almost destroyed by shell-fire. The seaborne evacuation replaced a planned road convoy to the Syrian capital Damascus which was postponed after an armed group controlling stretches of the Damascus road said the route was not totally secure. 550 foreign nationals registered for the evacuation. As usual many had done so just as a precaution but a fairly large number made the journey as one of the American naval officers explained.