The family of a young Irish American Long Island student has been unable to contact their 20-year-old daughter stranded in Egypt.
Kyleen Burke is one of 34 students from Gordon College studying in a Middle Eastern studies program. Her father Jim Burke could not contact his daughter for four days but finally got in touch.
He said his daughter assured him and her family that she was fine and even described the experience of witnessing the protests as “cool.” Burke said his daughter had kept out of the way of the protesters.
It’s believed that over 100 people have lost their lives so far. Cairo, Alexandria and Suez have all been beset by looting and armed robbery while gangs attacked four jails releasing thousands of inmates.
Burke said, “She’s got a few whiffs of the tear gas and she heard…the police had set off fireworks. She thinks firecrackers [were set] to enforce the curfew, but she feels very safe.”
Once the curfew is lifted Kyleen and the other students will retreat to a safe house in Istanbul, Turkey.
Communication has become difficult as the government shut down the Internet this week. The family had been using Skype to communicate.
Burke said that Kyleen spent Saturday night under military guard in Cairo rail station but felt in no danger.
Currently hundreds of Irish citizens are attempting to get out of Egypt as violent revolts turns into crisis.
At least 400 Irish citizens are trapped in Egypt. The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed there are 200 Irish citizens who are working or living in the affected areas. Chief executive of the Irish Travel Agents Association, Pat Dawson, said that there are as many as 200 tourists trapped in the chaos.
Although the Irish, British and U.S. embassies in Cairo have advised people to leave the country, dozens of flights out of Cairo have been cancelled or delayed.
The Irish pub that became home base for 9/11 ground zero rescuers