- Title: CZECH REPUBLIC: Czech army planes evacuate citizens out of Japan
- Date: 17th March 2011
- Summary: SLATE INFORMATION
- Embargoed: 1st April 2011 13:00
- Location: Czech Republic, Czech Republic
- Country: Czech Republic
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVABQ52O3MP9UVU4EBIGC0XQTGE6
- Story Text: Two Czech military planes arrived at Prague's Kbely airport on Thursday (March 17) after evacuating civilians from crisis-stricken Japan.
The planes, carrying 106 passengers, included Czechs, Slovaks, Bulgarian, Polish and Korean citizens.
Japan's Fukushima plant started emitting radiation after explosions at the nuclear plant caused by a massive 9.0 earthquake. Passengers returning from the Pacific nation said panic was starting about food and fuel running out.
"How do the people feel there? It's panic unfortunately. The shops are empty, fuel is low," the returning Adriana Craig said.
Members of the Czech Philharmonic had been touring Japan and were also among Thursday's passengers.
"No one knows what is happening at the power plant. This is the biggest danger. The Japanese will handle it somehow but noone really knows what the actual damage is," Czech violinist, Jiri Sladeck said.
Many of the people on the Czech planes were women and children whose husbands are either Japanese or work in Japan, and many of them have decided to stay for now.
Petra Koudelova has lived in Japan for 11 years but wanted to bring her children back to the Czech Republic.
"At first we weren't too worried because we are used to earthquakes. I was working in a building at the time but I knew it was resilient. We carried on working after the tsunami but on one of the days I had to leave the office to pick up my son from the kindergarten. Public transport wasn't working so I had to go the 15 kilometres by foot," she said.
The planes were organised by the Czech Ministry.
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