Scores of Chinese leave conflict-torn Yemen

Updated: 2015-03-31 07:21

By ZHANG YUNBI(China Daily)

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Scores of Chinese leave conflict-torn Yemen

The 19th Escort Fleet of the Chinese Navy evacuated 122 Chinese nationals, including seven women and one child, after arriving in the Gulf of Aden in Yemen, on Sunday. [Photo by Xiong Libing/Asianewsphoto]

Workers evacuated in two groups as international fears rise over security

All Chinese citizens needing to leave Yemen were evacuated in two groups on Monday 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 Monday, 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 Sunday.

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 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 Thursday. 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.

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."