TODAY

TODAY   |  January 31, 2011

U.S. nationals being evacuated from Egypt

After a week of violent clashes, the State Department has ordered the evacuation of U.S. citizens in Egypt and has chartered planes to fly them out of Cairo. CNBC’s Erin Burnett reports.

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>> 11% of egypt 's gross domestic product but for americans there now this is anything but a vacation. cnbc's erin burnett has this part of the story. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning. about 300,000 american tourists visit egypt every year. the events here have had ramifications in markets from tokyo to new york to dubai. markets here remained closed because of the crisis. americans find egypt a popular place to be. lots of tourists and students who come to study overseas for their junior year in college. many are lining up to leave. following state department advice, americans were gathering at cairo airport this morning to catch charter flights back home. almost a week of escalating street protests saw many holed up in hotels. for some it's not a moment too soon.

>> i didn't feel nervous until the jets started flying overhead. i was sitting outside. one came very low over the hotel and i thought we were being bombed.

>> reporter: i caught up with these students who were anxious to leave.

>> i'm ready to leave because no one knows what's going to happen.

>> reporter: are you scared?

>> yeah. i'm scared of what will happen at the airport, what it will be like.

>> reporter: some of the lucky ones made it home on the weekend. relatives have been worrying.

>> not being able to call, e-mail. i could a little bit. 50 seconds into it you would be cut off.

>> reporter: all came back with stories to tell.

>> part of me still wants to be in egypt and watch the revolution unfold.

>> reporter: jeremy was happy to be home.

>> it was a wonderful trip other than the last day. it was real scary. we are glad to be home on american soil.

>> reporter: the petersons in illinois are taking that flight today. they never got to see the pyramids.

>> it's comforting to know the u.s. government is looking to take care of us and get us home. we're loving that.

>> yes. correct.

>> reporter: a lot of people we talked to -- even students getting on the bus -- said, my parentings are making me leave. i wish i could stay. and a student from american university has been here ten days. he said, i know my mom is freaking out. she wants me home. he said, i love it here. it's been a week and i'm falling in love with the place. most people are rushing to the airport to try to get out. back to you.

>> erin, thanks. you know, i hear that athens is one of the safe havens they have picked to send people to. it's easy to love egypt but this is a rough time to be there.

>> if what happened in tunisia sparked what's happening in egypt the big dwe is what happens next in yemen, jordan, syria, saudi arabia .

>> sudan as well. these places all have dates with a hash mark on the twitter page that says that's the day when they will march. all of the places have a date picked out on twitter. we'll see.