Last group of Samoans safely evacuated from Jerusalem, Israel

The last group of Samoans in Israel were safely evacuated from Jerusalem to Dubai on Tuesday, 17 October 2023. This is in addition to other delegations that left TelaViv last week.
Thirteen (13) Samoans boarded the Australian Air Force flight early yesterday morning to Dubai, where they joined eight other members of their group who departed Jerusalem on an earlier Australian Air Force flight on Sunday 15 October 2023.
A statement released by the government says the group will resume their original return itinerary via Singapore-Fiji-Samoa and will arrive on Friday 20th October.
The group comprises a toddler, one student and the rest Christian pilgrims who traveled to Jerusalem to attend a prayer conference, the Welcome the King of Glory Gathering, usually convened in the month of October annually.
“We thank the Government of Australia for the timely response un providing the critical opportunities for the group to exit Israel and for the effective collaboration with teams in Apia, Canberra and Israel that facilitated the safe departures from Israel amidst the escalating crisis resulting in flight cancellations.
“We acknowledge the support of New Zealand through advice of available flights; unfortunately, the opportunities were missed. Likewise we proudly acknowledge in particular the untiring efforts of Vincent Schmidt, UN Security and Personal Protection Officer in seeking out Samoans known to be in Jerusalem to be prepared for immediate departure, His nightly live broadcasts provided reassurance to families of the group of their safety.
“Our missions in Canberra, Tokyo and particularly Brussels as well as some members of the diaspora in Dubai created a tight network to share information, provide encouragement to members of the group and support in processing transit visas.”