DJ trapped in Beirut awaits evacuation

AN Essex DJ has spoken of her anger and despair as she waits to be rescued from war-torn Beirut.Jolie Boyle, who is stranded in her hotel room waiting for a mass evacuation to start, also branded the British Embassy “totally useless.

By Annie Davidson

AN Essex DJ has spoken of her anger and despair as she waits to be rescued from war-torn Beirut.

Jolie Boyle, who is stranded in her hotel room waiting for a mass evacuation to start, also branded the British Embassy “totally useless.”

The 28-year-old was due to fly home on Friday after a gig but the airport was bombed after fighting broke out between Israel and Lebanon.

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Miss Boyle, of Hatfield Peverel, is now one of thousands of British citizens waiting to be evacuated from the city, which has been continually bombed.

Miss Boyle said she had been driven to tears of despair yesterday after believing she would board a Royal Navy ship to Cyprus during the day.

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She had packed her bags and was due to go to the city's port when she was told no ships would be arriving.

“I was so gutted, I had my hopes up so much,” she said. “My friends, family and boyfriend are telling me it will be tomorrow (Wednesday) but there is no way I am getting my hopes up like that again.”

She added: “I was supposed to be flying to Spain tomorrow (Wednesday) morning with my boyfriend to see my parents who live out there.

“That is just not going to happen now. I have told him to go without me and I will fly straight there.

“My parents are scared and worried at the moment and my boyfriend just wants to get me back.

“I am the only English person in my hotel and everyone else is with someone, either in a two or a family.”

Miss Boyle said she was “really fuming” with the British Embassy in Beirut which she said had been “totally useless.”

“They are the worst source of information I have ever dealt with,” said Miss Boyle, who has travelled to China, Thailand and Kuwait for her work during the last six months.

“I went down there on Friday but I didn't get to see anyone important, I saw the head of security who didn't even take me into the office.

“I was outside in the blazing heat filling in a form leaning against the wall. They (the embassy) treat you like a child. They say 'go back to your hotel, sit and wait' and don't give you any information.

“One of the guys from the BBC told me more information than the embassy could tell me. I was really fuming.”

She added: “They don't answer the phone, or it is always engaged, or if you do get through they put you through to someone else and you connect to their answerphone. Their website was not updated for five days.”

Miss Boyle said she was expecting another restless night as the bombing continued.

“One of the guys by the hotel pool said he heard that Israel has started bombing the Lebanese army and there is a barracks a couple of hundred yards from the hotel,” she said.

“That is going to be quite scary. A telecommunications tower which is further away was bombed on Saturday and that shook the whole hotel.

“It was very, very loud, I have never heard such a loud bang. I am quite worried, you never know what is going to happen. There could be a stray bomb.”

Miss Boyle has been a DJ for ten years and has a weekly evening show on the London underground station Shine. In a poll to find the best female DJ she was voted 9th in the UK and 36th world-wide.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said it accepted some people had difficulty in getting through to the Beirut office but the vast majority had been able to.

“The embassy has been answering phones 24 hours a day and there is a whole bank of people but the calls take a long time because people are worried and need a lot of reassurance and advice,” he said.

He said the advice remained that people should stay where they were and they would be contacted about the evacuation arrangements.

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