It has been a busy few days for Chinese naval ships around Yemen. The Chinese government evacuated more than 600 of its own citizens and more than 300 nationals from more than 10 countries.
On April 6, the last group of Chinese nationals was transported from Yemeni capital Sanna to al-Hodayda port, after a five-hour drive.
The Chinese government has deployed naval ships to evacuate citizens from Yemen as the security situation there deteriorated. A naval vessel, the Linyi frigate, evacuated 122 Chinese nationals March 29.
A day after, another navy ship, the Weifang missile frigate, evacuated 449 Chinese citizens from Yemen’s western port of al-Hodayda, en route to Djibouti.
Since the security situation in the country began to deteriorate two weeks ago, the Chinese government has organized several missions to evacuate its citizens.
“When I saw our warship, I felt like I would be home soon,” said Wang Yili, head of Aid Mission in Yemen.
The United Nations said, over the past two weeks, fighting has intensified, leaving more than 500 people dead and more than 1,700 people injured.
Evacuees were taken by naval frigates across the Red Sea to Djibouti. From there, they can take flights home. But the huge evacuation numbers also posed a challenge for the ships logistics divisions.
“The mission is quite a challenge for us, but we’re sure that any difficulties can be tackled,” said Li Zheng, logistic division head of Chinese Navy.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry says this is the first time that China has helped evacuate foreign citizens from a conflict zone.
“We’ve been bombarded for the last two nights, so we rushed to Aden in order to go back to Pakistan. Now with the Chinese naval ships, we are grateful for help from Chinese people,” said an evacuee.
The Foreign Ministry says this is the second time that China has used its navy ships to evacuate its own citizens from a conflict zone. It is another sign of China becoming increasingly active in disaster relief and humanitarian aid abroad.
With the ongoing unrest in Yemen, China continues to voice its concerns and urge a political solution to end the crisis.