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Scores of Chinese leave conflict-torn Yemen

Updated: Mar 31,2015 7:41 AM     China Daily

A Chinese citizen boards the PLA navy frigate Linyi in the Yemeni port of Aden on March 29. The first group of 122 Chinese and two foreigners working for Chinese companies were evacuated to Djibouti. On March 30, the second group of more than 400 Chinese also left safely.[Photo by XIONG LIBING/CHINA DAILY]

Workers evacuated in two groups as international fears rise over security

All Chinese citizens needing to leave Yemen were evacuated in two groups on March 30 after Beijing mobilized its diplomatic missions and a naval fleet in the region for a combined operation.

The ongoing crisis in Yemen has triggered international concerns as more countries evacuate their nationals.

On March 30, China’s Ministry of National Defense said on its website that a People’s Liberation Army navy fleet, which had been involved in an escort mission in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia, headed for Yemen on March 29.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news conference in Beijing that 122 Chinese citizens-the first group of those to leave-had been evacuated safely from Yemen to Djibouti.

The first batch of 122 Chinese nationals were evacuated from the Gulf of Aden in Yemen, by the Chinese Navy.[Photo by Xiong Libing/Asianewsphoto]

The Chinese embassy in Djibouti is helping them to make an early return to China, she said.

Liang Yang, a spokesman for the PLA navy, said the evacuation was made “in accordance with an order by President Xi Jinping and the Central Military Commission”.

Liang said the commission mobilized the frigates Linyi and Weifang and the supply ship Weishanhu for the evacuation. It took eight hours of high-speed sailing by the Linyi to evacuate the first group of Chinese and two foreign experts employed by Chinese companies, Liang said.

Xinhua News Agency later reported that the second group of about 400 people boarded the Chinese naval ships and left Yemen, “marking the full evacuation of all those Chinese needing to leave”.

The security situation in Yemen has deteriorated rapidly since March 26. The country has been rocked by political unrest and clashes between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has fled the country.

A crew member guards near a Chinese navy vessel in Aden Harbor, Yemen, March 29, 2015. [Photo/Asianewsphoto]

Experts and officials said that Beijing’s evacuation efforts were timely and necessary in view of the situation in Yemen.

Abeer Etefa, a spokeswoman and senior regional communications officer for the World Food Programme, said, “It is a very difficult time for the Arab region ... as we see an unprecedented number of emergencies.

“Some of the companies working in Yemen may not be operating, to safeguard the security of staff members. It is very difficult to provide assistance when the security of your own staff is at stake.”

Two workers for Chinese companies, from Egypt and Romania, respectively, were evacuated from Yemen by the Chinese Navy on March 29.[Photo by Xiong Libing/Asianewsphoto]