Sunday night I receive a phone call from Fiona. 4 boats carrying Australian evacuees from Lebanon, along with Canadian and US ships were due to arrive overnight. Although still tired from Friday night, I left my flat and walked down to the port.
One of the buses hired by the Canadians waiting in front of the port entrance. The Canadian buses were newer and of higher quality than the Australian buses.
This night the terminal was better organised, with more police and a tape restricting media access, allowing the refugees more direct movement to the buses. When I arrived the night’s first boatload of Australian evacuees were being processed.
Stuart, Fiona and Serpil were again hard at work although James had returned to London on Saturday. Also in attendance was a Reuters journalist from Pennsylvania.
Australian tax dollars well spent
An evacuee being interviewed. Note: Elif in orange
Whilst waiting for the second Australian boat Serpil explained to me why Turkish TV news and current affairs programmes often repeat the same footage over and over again. Turkish video operators do not take any background footage and only shoot the dramatic scenes. In other words, they don’t tell a story.
The Turkish Red Crescent gave out red and white carnations to the arriving refugees.
The second Australian boat, a ferry from Kocaeli (Izmit) arrived shortly before the first Canadian vessel. To minimise confusion the Canadian passengers remained on their ferry until all Australians were in the terminal.
Australian refugees exiting the ship
More passengers departing the ferry
The ferry terminal exit. Note the posters promoting places in Mersin Province on the windows
Evacuees waiting for a bus with an ambulance in the background. Note the small backpack worn by the Australian official. The backpack holds water that the wearer accesses by sucking a tube.
After the second Australian boatload had departed on the buses I left with Stuart and Fiona.
During the night a total of more than 800 Australians along with hundreds of Canadians and 1,000 or so Americans arrived. More people arrived Sunday night/Monday morning than all previous nights combined.