SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The effort to evacuate American citizens trapped in Israel is underway, with flights chartered by the U.S. State Department.
A North Bay congressman is working to secure the safe passage of about a dozen Sonoma County residents back to the Bay Area. One of those residents says the situation has become terrifying.
"I'm standing in our shelter, we heard the sirens go off, so we closed our shutters in the apartment," said Tessa Morgan.
Our interview from Tel Aviv with Tessa Morgan was interrupted by the sound of explosions and air raid sirens across the city Saturday night.
Morgan says lowering metal 'blast shutters' and moving to a fortified bomb shelter inside her apartment is the new reality. She says it's happening at least three times a day.
"My neighborhood in Tel Aviv is more secluded but anything can flip at any time. The sirens take your breath away, absolutely terrifying," Morgan said.
Tessa traveled to Israel 10 months ago with a Jewish youth group and decided to stay in Tel Aviv for an internship in art and design. But now, she's anxious to return home to her family in Sonoma. Morgan managed to book a flight to Portugal but isn't very optimistic.
"Flights are being canceled left and right. We're not sure we can keep it and fly out in the next few days. A charter flight is a back up," Morgan said.
The U.S. State Department is working to evacuate Americans out of Israel with chartered planes and boats.
Morgan shared an email from the U.S. embassy about next steps. Evacuees are being told be ready to travel on short notice, and you must sign a document agreeing to repay the US government prior to departure.
"As one of those citizens, I wish they had checked up a little quicker. I would have loved to see action in a couple of days, not four or five," Morgan said.
North Bay Congressman Mike Thompson says his office is working to bring home 10 residents from Sonoma County.
"The Biden administration has been great working with the State Department. They've been helpful. They have things in progress now that we were asked not to talk about that, will help insure the safe return of my constituents and many more Americans over in the region," Thompson said.
Morgan says the city she loves is now a place of conflict and heartbreak.
"More than anything, I'm just sad and heartbroken. Missing people posters are turning into funeral announcements. It's horrifying," Morgan said.
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