Cairo Airport Scene of Chaos as Foreigners Flee

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With Egypt embroiled in massive protests, tens of thousands of people have been trying to escape the unstable region - a task they have found to be extremely difficult.
    
Chaos and confusion reigned Monday at Cairo International Airport as visitors to the region frantically searched for a flight home.

"It's an absolute zoo.  What a mess!" exclaimed Justine Khanzadian, 23, a graduate student from the American University of Cairo. "I decided to leave because of the protests, the government here is just not stable enough to stay."

Despite the mayhem, evacuation efforts have finally begun.  Charter flights carrying U.S. citizens have already landed in Cyprus and Greece to the relief of many families.
  
Ramee Yocoub was overjoyed to have his mother, father and sister arrive home.

"Thank God their flight landed," he said. "I was worried about them all day. They didn't return any of my phone calls. Thank God."
    
Mona Ghanem was grateful for the return of her sons, who were studying in Egypt, their family's native country.
 
"I was losing my mind until they came home," she said.

In recent days, the Egyptian government has cut Internet and cell phone service, making communication nearly impossible.  And many neighborhoods were abandoned by police, forcing citizens to provide their own protection.  Mona Ghanem's sons took part in one of the neighborhood watch details before they left the country.

"We have like a community watch," Mona's son, Muhammed Ghanem, said. "We closed off all the side streets at night.  We take shifts, doing checkpoints, protecting the community."
   
Meanwhile, many Americans are still waiting for family to come home, like Jeanine Budowich, whose son is studying at the American University of Cairo.
 
"What we're seeing on the news is very difficult to watch," she said.

Budowich's son, Taylor, tried to secure a flight out of Egypt on Sunday but was unsuccessful.  In the meantime, he's been getting a front row seat to history.  He told his mother he was in downtown Cairo when the National Democratic Building caught fire.

"I saw the NDP building burn down," he said. "I have pictures of it today. I was there when the fire started."
   
Even as thousands try to flee country, there are Egyptians who are trying to return to lend aid to their fellow countrymen.

Sana Elbeshbeshy practices medicine in the U.S. but said she wants to go back to her homeland and provide whatever help she can.
 
"I was born and raised there," she explained. "I have family there.  People there.  I want to be a part of what's happening.  Maybe I can do something."

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