Around half of the roughly 250 Norwegian citizens caught in Gaza when war broke out last month have now been cleared to cross Gaza’s southern border to Egypt. Norway’s foreign ministry is arranging for a flight to help get them back home.
“We’re glad another large group of Norwegian citizens have now been released from Gaza,” Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide stated in a press release Friday afternoon. “A large number of them are children who have lived with great uncertainty and under extremely difficult conditions for a long time.”
His ministry has been criticized earlier for failing to help get Norwegians out of both Israel and Gaza when the war broke out. The first group of Norwegians in Gaza weren’t allowed to leave until earlier this week.
Now the ministry has chartered a flight from Norwegian Air to fly as many of them as possible from Cairo to Oslo this weekend. As a matter of principle, they’ll have to cover their own costs, but the ministry is offering the flight plus all other arrangements made for their border crossing, a bus through Sinai to Cairo, hotel accommodation in Cairo, food plus fees for emergency visas and passports for NOK 6,500 for adults, NOK 1,500 for children between age two and 18 and free for children under two.
“Some of those needing to travel home have various health concerns and medical needs,” Eide said, adding that in addition to ministry personnel, health care officials would be on board the Norwegian Air flight.