A fleet of six chartered cruise ships is to begin the evacuation Wednesday of as many as 20,000 Canadians from Lebanon, where attacks by Israeli warplanes continue to hammer the capital Beirut and other areas of the country.
The Conservative government said Monday its rescue effort would take about 4,500 people daily to Cyprus by ship.
The government has been criticized for not doing enough to help the thousands of Canadians stranded in the country, especially in the wake of the deaths of members of one Lebanese-Canadian family. Family members said an eighth person died Monday after the Israeli airstrike on the weekend.
The cruise ships, each with a capacity of 600 to 900 passengers, will start picking up Canadians at the port of Beirut as of mid-day Wednesday. They will ferry evacuees back and forth for at least three days, possibly more.
About 50,000 Canadians are believed to be in the country, and the number of those registered with the government has doubled to about 25,000 in the last few days
Canada has also chartered three planes that could fly people back to Canada, said Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, although that part of the plan is still a bit sketchy and depends on numbers of people and the capacity of the airport.
More stuff to read on... my blog.