BEIJING, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Thousands more Chinese nationals were heading back home Wednesday from third countries after being evacuated from Libya, as part of China's ongoing evacuation operation.
Between late Tuesday and early Wednesday, a total of 982 Chinese took commercial and chartered flights from Turkey's Istanbul en route to their homeland, Chinese Ambassador to Turkey Gong Xiaosheng told Xinhua.
The evacuees, most of whom came from China's Anhui, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces, first took chartered flights from southern Libya to Istanbul, where they boarded planes bound for three major Chinese cities -- Beijing, Shanghai,and Guangzhou, before eventually returning to their native towns, said the ambassador.
Gong said with firm support from the Turkish government, he and other Chinese diplomats will try to make the evacuation as smooth and quick as possible.
According to the Chinese embassy in Malta, by Tuesday, a total of 3,061 Chinese evacuated from libya have embarked on home journey from the island country on 11 chartered flights.
Malta International Airport has recently become a transfer hub for countries to evacuate their citizens from Libya.
An official in charge of public relations at the airport told Xinhua that airport staff there are proud of helping China's evacuation efforts.
"They are willing to help the Chinese citizens with heart and soul, and try to help them get home as early as possible."
Embassy records showed between Saturday and Monday, 4,867 Chinese nationals have been transported from Libya to Malta's Valera port by three chartered ocean liners.
According to the Chinese embassy in Jordan, a chartered plane carrying 146 Chinese evacuees from southern Libya landed in Amman Tuesday morning, and the group boarded home flights about two hours later. Two more flights carrying Chinese evacuees from Libya were due to arrive in Jordan later Tuesday and early Wednesday, respectively.
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, as of 2 p.m. Tuesday Beijing time (600 GMT), China has altogether pulled out about 32,000 nationals from Libya, 9,000 of whom were back in China, roughly 21,000 were in a third country, while 2,100 were on their way to a third country.
Presently, China is about to finish its evacuation efforts in Libya's eastern and midwestern areas while there are about 3,000 Chinese in the nation's southern part who will be evacuated either by China's military aircraft or foreign airlines, said the ministry.
It also said that those who are taking shelter in a third country will be flown back to China by government-sent chartered planes shortly.