January 29, 2011 12:27
Last night the gunfire continued for 30-45 minutes, and then went on sporadically for a while longer. Brandon took phone calls until 2 AM, so I took a Lunesta and put earplugs in. The phone calls never quite stopped, so Brandon didn’t get any sleep until 2. Thanks to the Lunesta, however, I didn’t hear anything.
When we woke up this morning, nothing was to be seen or heard. I called around to see if anyone knew anything, but nobody knew more than protests throughout the city. Brandon started taking calls again at 7, and most calls were about getting to the airport and whether they should leave.
Around 10, he started getting phone calls about evacuation. There was a rumor that the ambassador had been talking to CNN and had announced an evacuation. Everyone wanted to know what they were supposed to do for the evacuation. Brandon has had to tell them all that no, there is no announced evacuation and even if there were, they would not be included. He has had some people grow quite belligerent and ask what the Embassy planned to do for them. He has pointed out several times that 30,000 American citizens live in Egypt and there is no way the government would be able to transport all of them out of the country. Someone asked if the doors of the embassy would be opened for sanctuary. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard him tell a caller that they need to stay home, sit tight, and do what they thought was a good idea, but the embassy couldn’t do anything for them.
Around 10, we got broadcast on the radio announcing that the struggle is continuing around the city and that the police and army were deployed at strategic points, but that the streets were not considered safe. All employees were advised to stay inside.
The cell phones came back on around the same time as the announcement, and Brandon got a call from Samir. He had watched as the police station and NDP building were burned. There was some attempted looting, but the surrounding citizens had stopped the looting.
I called mom and told her about the situation, and she reported that all of the news was full of the happenings in Egypt. She had thought that we were safe in Maadi, but then I told her about the things that had gone one. She didn’t sound very worried, and I am grateful for that. After I got off the phone with mom, Y called. A hotel in Giza had been burned and private residences were being broken into and looted. There had also been an evacuation plan discussed, but no decision made.
After my nap, Brandon told me that the curfew had been instituted for tonight – from 4 this afternoon until 8 tomorrow morning. My phone was still on, so I called Rere and she told me that there are food shortages and that everyone is going to the souk to stock up. She also had heard that a bank had been looted and that the army was surrounding the embassies and Egyptian Museum.
M called about an hour ago and passed on the information that Carrefour has been looted and that a burned out police trucks were by the Maadi Grand mall.