In a scene that all too quickly has become a ritual, 84 Americans and Canadians or members of their families arrived at Dulles International Airport from Baghdad last night to applause, a yellow ribbon and an American flag draped on a tree.

Most of the evacuees quickly retreated to hotel rooms at the airport, exhausted after 36 hours of travel that, for most, started at Kuwait City.

A 35-year-old New Jersey woman, who had to leave her husband behind, said conditions had deteriorated badly in Kuwait City, an assessment shared by other arrivals. She praised President Bush and said she was praying for war.

"It is a skeleton. There is nothing left to steal," she said of Kuwait City. "It is genocide . . . . For the last three months, I've gotten up hoping, praying {the Americans} would come."

The woman asked to remain anonymous to protect her husband.

The woman's mother, who greeted her last night, said her family had not heard from her since Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion and feared she would die because of shrinking food supplies.

"It's the most wonderful Thanksgiving," the mother said. "The whole scene there is something our Western minds can't understand . . . . I'm just very glad she is alive."

Those on board the flight, which started in Baghdad and stopped in London, included 75 Americans or their relatives, and nine Canadians. More than half were young children. All were called evacuees rather than hostages because they have been free to leave for some time.

Most apparently had remained to be with their families, and made the decision to leave because conditions had worsened. A 36-year-old Palestinian man said he left with his wife and two small girls because Iraq had destroyed the country.

"They want to put Kuwait back 50 years," said the man, who asked to remain anonymous. But he said an American invasion would "be mass destruction."

A College Park man waited impatiently for the arrival of his brother, lamenting the fact that his parents stayed behind in Kuwait City. He said his brother, a pediatrician, could have stayed behind, but left because he is married to an American woman.

Out of fear for his parents, he said, the man would give only his first name, Nabil.

"The situation is getting ridiculous," said Nabil, 40, referring to growing bread lines and military buildups in the past few weeks.

The arrival of the flight, the 11th since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, brought to 2,250 the number of American citizens or members of their families who have managed to get out, the State Department said.

Many of those on the flight were wives and children of Kuwaiti citizens, according to the State Department. No one was seriously ill, but three people were taken to local hospitals for evaluation, and two passengers requested wheelchairs at Dulles.

Fewer than 1,000 Americans remain in Iraq and Kuwait, but at least 102 are being held by Iraq as "human shields" against attacks at strategic sites, the State Department said.