Home World Foreign Diplomats and Nationals Evacuated as Fighting Erupts in Sudan

Foreign Diplomats and Nationals Evacuated as Fighting Erupts in Sudan

As violence continues to escalate in Khartoum, multiple countries have started evacuating their diplomats and citizens from Sudan's capital.


Several countries have been carrying out evacuation operations in Sudan as violence erupts across the country due to a power struggle between the regular army and a powerful paramilitary force. The US and UK both announced on Sunday that they had flown diplomats out of the country, with the US airlifting fewer than 100 people with three Chinook helicopters in a “fast and clean” operation. The US embassy in Khartoum is now closed, and a tweet on its official feed says it is not safe enough for the government to evacuate private US citizens.

Other countries conducting evacuation operations on Sunday include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Canada, with French President Emmanuel Macron confirming that a plane had arrived in Djibouti carrying French citizens and others. The German army said the first of three planes had left Sudan, bound for Jordan, with 101 people on board. Meanwhile, the UK government managed to airlift British diplomats and their families out of the country in what was described as a “complex and rapid” operation.

Several other countries successfully evacuated people on Saturday, including more than 150 people, mostly citizens of Gulf countries, as well as Egypt, Pakistan, and Canada, who were evacuated by sea to the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah. However, there are still desperate calls for help from many foreign students who are also stuck in Khartoum, a city of some six million people.

Reports suggest that internet connectivity has almost totally collapsed in Sudan, which could seriously hinder the coordination of help for those trapped in Khartoum and other cities. The power struggle has seen heavy bombardment in the capital city, with hundreds killed and thousands more injured. The near-constant shooting and bombing in Khartoum and elsewhere has cut electricity and safe access to food and water for much of the population.

Several ceasefires that had seemingly been agreed by both sides were ignored, including a three-day pause to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which started on Friday. The World Health Organization says the fighting has killed more than 400 people and injured thousands, but the death toll is believed to be much higher as people are struggling to get healthcare, as most of the city’s hospitals have been forced to close by the fighting.

The US has announced a disaster response team will be sent to the area to “coordinate the humanitarian response for those in need both within and outside of Sudan.” Samantha Power from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said the team would work out of Kenya at first, and prioritise getting “life-saving humanitarian assistance to those who need it most.” The UN has warned that up to 20,000 people – mostly women and children – have fled Sudan to seek safety in Chad, across the border from Darfur. Along with Khartoum, the western region of Darfur, where the paramilitary force first emerged, has also been badly affected by the fighting.

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