"I just want to make sure you're okay and if you need me, you know where I am. Just call and we'll get you home all right," Phyllis Cologgi said in a message to her daughter who is studying in Egypt.
An American student waiting at the airport estimated that the vast majority of American students have opted to leave, abandoning their belongings in their apartments, and have been catching chartered buses to the airport with only the clothes on their backs and their passports.
As security broke down over the weekend in the absence of police, vandals and looters raided government buildings and even stormed the famed Egyptian Museum in downtown Cairo, shattering display cases and smashing precious artifacts. The museum is home to more than 120,000 items, including King Tut's golden mask and solid gold coffin. Looters destroyed two mummies a 3,000-year-old wooden statue from the time of King Tut was shattered.
Soldiers have detained about 50 men who tried to break into the museum, and the military continues to fire gunshots into the air to scare off looters.
Vigilante groups were formed in neighborhoods to protect looters from robbing houses.
Though the turmoil in Egypt comes on the heels of the uprising in another north African country, Tunisia, discontent against Mubarak's regime had been simmering for a long time.
A Pew Global Report published in June found that 69 percent of Egyptians were dissatisfied with the way things were progressing in their country, compared to 28 percent who expressed satisfaction. A whopping 80 percent of those surveyed thought their economy was in bad shape, compared to 46 percent just a few years ago in 2007. Of those who said the economy was bad, just a quarter expected improvement in the next year.
Meanwhile, U.S. favorability in the country has declined rapidly, from 30 percent in 2006 to 17 percent in 2010, the lowest percentage observed in any of the Pew Global Attitudes surveys conducted in that country since 2006.
ABC News' Nasser Atta, Gary Langer and Kirit Radia contributed to this report.