Dalia Salim received an email from Global Affairs Canada on Saturday evening saying the evacuation of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their family members was expected to begin on Monday.
Ms. Salim, who lives in London, Ontario, has been trying to get her father out of Gaza for weeks.
Global Affairs Canada had previously told those affected that they might be able to leave “as early as Sunday,” but the small number of foreigners allowed to use the Rafah border crossing came to a halt on Saturday due to increasing airstrikes on Israel in its retaliation for the deadly Hamas invaded this country on October 7th.
There is talk that “more than 400 Canadian citizens, permanent residents and eligible family members may leave Gaza via the Rafah border crossing in the coming days.”
Ms Salim has been warned that her father’s departure from Gaza could be delayed as the border remains closed.
A spokesman for the Palestinian Border Crossing Authority said officials in Gaza did not allow foreign passport holders to leave because Israel prevented the evacuation of Palestinian patients to Egypt.
Two Canadians managed to escape
Two Canadian citizens reportedly crossed the border from Rafah into Egypt with the help of a third person. Global Affairs Canada says it is aware of the situation but is declining to provide further details due to confidentiality reasons.
According to government officials, a list containing the names of nearly 450 Canadian nationals and their family members who wish to leave Gaza has been provided to Canada’s “regional partners.”
In its latest update, Global Affairs Canada says it is in contact with 516 Canadian nationals and their family members in Gaza, 61 in the West Bank and 51 in Israel.
“We are communicating directly with Canadians and asking them to have their travel documents on hand and be prepared to travel at very short notice. The Egyptian government allows people entering Egypt from Gaza to stay in the country for a maximum of 72 hours (3 days). Our consular officers will be present on the Egyptian side of the border to facilitate bus transportation to Cairo and assist with onward travel to Canada,” said the latest press release from Global Affairs Canada.
So far, the deaths of “six Canadian citizens and one person with close ties to Canada” have been confirmed.
Currently, more than 5,755 Canadians on the list of Canadians abroad are registered in Israel, 453 Canadians are registered in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and 18,028 are registered in Lebanon.
Furthermore, the Canadian government reiterates a message that could not be clearer for Canadian citizens staying in Israel’s neighboring country Lebanon: “Get out if you can.”
“Canadians in the affected region are encouraged to register to receive up-to-date information,” recalls Global Affairs Canada.
“Global Affairs Canada has responded to 10,824 requests for information since the conflict began on October 7. Most inquiries relate to exit options and the security situation,” says the current update.
Incurable food practitioner. Tv lover. Award-winning social media maven. Internet guru. Travel aficionado.