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Last updated: 18 July, 2006 - Published 21:41 GMT
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Caribbean nationals to flee Lebanon
Willemstad, Curacao
Willemstad is working with The Hague, to evacuate their nationals from Lebanon
Trinidad and Tobago and the Netherlands Antilles are among countries trying to get their nationals out of Lebanon.

There has been a mass exodus of people fleeing the continuing air strikes by Israel, as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warned that Lebanon is facing a humanitarian crisis.

Israel launched its assault and blockade last Wednesday after two of its soldiers were captured by the Hezbollah guerilla group.

About 230 Lebanese people have been killed since then - the vast majority of them civilians, but including about 30 soldiers. The number of Hezbollah fighters killed is not known.

Twenty-five Israelis have died - 13 civilians and 12 members of the military.

Dutch Evacuation

This development has worried the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles, Emily de Jongh-ElHage.

Not only is she of Lebanese descent, but she still has family and friends in Lebanon.

Her biggest problem though, is the scores of people from the Dutch Caribbean who are caught up in the bombing raids.

She has been working with the Dutch government to move them to safety.

 Why do we have to kill innocent people?
Prime Minister Emily De Jongh Elhage

Mrs de Jongh Elhage told BBC Caribbean: "Most of them who wanted to leave [have] left. Some of them couldn't leave their homes because of the bombings but with Holland we are still trying to see when we can take them away, too."

She said her friends and family are safe as they fled "into the mountains".

The Prime Minister has condemned the Middle East Conflict, describing as "shameful" the shedding of innocent blood both in Lebanon and Israel.

"Why do we have to kill innocent people? I hope and I pray because I am Catholic, that the peace will be there again," she said.

Trinidad plans

The ministry of foreign affairs in Trinidad and Tobago says it is attempting to evacuate its nationals in Lebanon wishing to leave.

Ashton Ford, public affairs attaché at the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission in London explained that they have so far come across three of their nationals in Lebanon.

Bombed-out building
Israel has intensified its air raids on Lebanon

Mr Ford told BBC Caribbean: "What we are trying to determine is whether they [the three] would want to be taken out of Lebanon or be relocated."

He said Port of Spain's diplomat in Beirut would be trying to identify whether there were other such Trinidadians in Lebanon "because when we make the move of evacuation we will take all at one time".

Mr Ford said Trinidad and Tobago nationals will be evacuated from Lebanon on British naval vessels which will be moving out more British citizens from there later this week.

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