News story

Helping British nationals throughout a crisis

On 25 January reports came in of anti-government demonstrations in Egypt that had turned violent. The Foreign Office had to act.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Foreign Office’s primary concern throughout the political unrest in Egypt has been the safety of the approximately 30,000 British nationals.

Speaking about the consular response to the events in Egypt, Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt said:

“In order to deal with the situation, the FCO responded to developing events by drawing on well-established and tested contingency plans. This included using the FCO’s crisis centre to pull together a team to co-ordinate our response. The FCO has produced a short film about this, entitled “A Day in the life of managing a crisis”, which shows some of our staff hard at work helping British Nationals:


The facts:

In order to manage the crisis the Foreign Office:

  • deployed over 50 additional staff to Egypt to reinforce our Embassy

  • sent 4 Rapid Deployment Teams from London to Egypt and also mobilised staff from around the region. This enabled us to have a strong presence in all major population centres
  • helped more than 2,000 British nationals leave Cairo, in line with our travel advice, and the UK was the first country to have a consular presence at Cairo airport
  • helped 237 passengers fly to the UK on two government-funded charter flights, on 3 and 5 February
  • deployed 58 members of staff to help more than 6,000 callers who called the Foreign Office’s dedicated 24 hour Egypt hotline, which was set up for British nationals requiring advice or assistance Speaking about the Foreign Office travel advice for Egypt the Minister said:

“The situation in Egypt remains fluid, and we still advise against all but essential travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Suez. The situation in the Red Sea resorts remains calm, and our travel advice for that area remains unchanged. We will keep this under regular review. The safety and security of British Nationals remains at the forefront of our minds”

Updates to this page

Published 9 February 2011