Sudan evacuations intensify as ceasefire largely holds in Khartoum

Sudan evacuations intensify as ceasefire largely holds in Khartoum
Sudan's warring parties have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire as countries rushed to evacuate their citizens.
9 min read

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A US-brokered ceasefire between Sudan's warring generals was largely holding in the capital on Tuesday as foreign nations stepped up efforts to evacuate their nationals from the chaos-torn nation.

But security fears were compounded when the World Health Organization warned of an "extremely dangerous" risk after fighters occupied a Khartoum laboratory holding samples of polio, measles and other infectious diseases.

Ten days of heavy fighting until Monday - including air strikes and artillery barrages - have killed at least 459 people, many of them civilians, wounded more than 4,000, and left some neighbourhoods of greater Khartoum in ruins.

Bewildered civilians were seen walking down one street in Khartoum North where almost all buildings were bombed out and smoke was rising from scorched ruins, in unverified video posted on social media.

Much of the city of five million has seen a reduction in fighting, witnesses said, since foreign governments have scrambled road convoys, aircraft and ships to get their nationals out since the weekend.

More than 4,000 people have fled Sudan in foreign-organised evacuations that began on Saturday, including by sea to Saudi Arabia and by aircraft to Jordan and Cyprus.

6:01 PM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog has now ended. Follow The New Arab on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the latest news on the situation in Sudan.

5:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

About 100 Canadians evacuated from Sudan, more expected during ceasefire

Countries including France and Germany have helped evacuate about 100 Canadians from Sudan, and Canada is working to evacuate more civilians during a 72-hour ceasefire agreed by warring factions in the North African country, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Tuesday.

The Canadian evacuees were from a group of 550 people who requested assistance, Joly told reporters in Ottawa, adding that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia also helped with the evacuations. There is a total of 1,700 Canadians in Sudan registered the foreign ministry.

"We will also be organizing our own evacuation of civilians and we want to seize the opportunity of this ceasefire to do that, and therefore we are working with the Canadian Armed Forces on that specific issue," Joly said.

"I'm also engaged in diplomatic discussions to ensure that we can find a permanent resolution to this conflict," she said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was an "extremely difficult situation" in Sudan and that his government was coordinating with other countries to use limited locations to airlift civilians.

Canada on Sunday suspended operations in Sudan and said its diplomats will temporarily work from a safe location outside the country. Ottawa has also announced immigration measures to support Sudanese temporary residents currently in Canada who cannot return home due to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Sudan.

3:06 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Supply shortages in Sudan are becoming 'extremely acute': UN

The U.N. humanitarian office said on Tuesday that supply shortages around the Sudanese capital were worsening and prices for basic goods were skyrocketing.

"After 10 days of fighting, shortages of food, water, medicines and fuel are becoming extremely acute, especially in Khartoum and surrounding areas," the OCHA said in a statement.

It also cited reports that the cost of basic goods had surged, saying prices for bottled water had doubled, and said cash was scarce and hard to access.


People are escaping the violence in Khartoum [Getty]
3:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Germany to end Sudan evacuation flights on Tuesday night: ministries

Germany will conduct its last evacuation flight from Sudan to Jordan on Tuesday evening, with no further flights planned from the region for the time being, the foreign and defence ministries said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

German nationals remaining in Sudan will be evacuated by partner nations in the coming days, the ministries said.


12:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pakistan evacuates 700 nationals from Sudan fighting

Pakistan's foreign minister said on Tuesday that 700 nationals have been evacuated to safety in Sudan.

"Today, another convoy carrying 211 Pakistanis dispatched from Khartoum has arrived in Port Sudan," Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said in a statement.

"With the latest convoy, the total number of Pakistanis who have been evacuated to safety has reached 700."

Pakistanis were being housed near the port before their onward journey, he tweeted earlier this week.

The ministry said around 1,500 Pakistanis were in Sudan, whose safety and security was being closely monitored.

12:08 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ukraine says evacuated 138 people from Sudan to Egypt

Ukraine said Tuesday it had evacuated 138 people, including 87 of its own citizens, to Egypt from Sudan, where a ceasefire has come into force after deadly fighting.

"A total of 138 citizens were saved... all evacuees are safe in Egypt," the main intelligence directorate of Ukraine's defence ministry said on Telegram.

This included 35 women and 12 children, according to Ukrainian authorities who organised the operation.

Ukraine said its own citizens, mostly people working in the aviation industry and their families, were "provided with visa and document support and expect a quick return to the Motherland."

Citizens from Georgia and Peru were also among the rescued.

11:24 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

'Huge biological risk' after Sudan fighters occupy lab: WHO

The World Health Organization warned Tuesday that fighters in conflict-ravaged Sudan had occupied a central public laboratory holding samples of diseases including polio and measles, creating an "extremely, extremely dangerous" situation.

"There is a huge biological risk associated with the occupation of the central public health lab... by one of the fighting parties," Nima Saeed Abid, the WHO's representative in Sudan, told reporters in Geneva via video-link.

11:19 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN bracing for up to 270,000 to flee Sudan into Chad, South Sudan

Up to 270,000 people could flee Sudan into neighbouring South Sudan and Chad, the United Nations said Tuesday, as a US-brokered 72-hour ceasefire took effect in the conflict-ravaged country.

Laura Lo Castro, the UN refugee agency's representative in Chad, said some 20,000 refugees had arrived there, adding that the agency expected up to 100,000 "in the worst case scenario". Her colleague in South Sudan, Marie-Helene Verney, said "the most likely scenario is 125,000 returns of South Sudanese refugees into South Sudan, and 45,000 refugees."

9:17 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Switzerland monitoring opportunities for further evacuations

The Swiss foreign minister said on Tuesday that Bern was monitoring opportunities to extract its remaining citizens but said it was having difficulty getting out people with dual nationality - the majority of the remaining Swiss in the country.

Switzerland has already shut its embassy and evacuated the staff and their families, and they arrived in Bern early on Tuesday morning.


9:14 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France says evacuated 538 people from Sudan

France has evacuated 538 people from Sudan, President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday, as a ceasefire came into force after 10 days of urban combat.

French citizens made up 209 of the total number of evacuees, Macron said at the start of a defence council at the Elysee palace.

Macron also said that the injuries sustained by a French soldier during the evacuation were no longer life-threatening.

The French foreign ministry announced Monday that it had closed its embassy in Khartoum "until further notice".

The mission could therefore no longer serve as a rallying point for people trying to leave the country, it said.

9:13 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Cyprus offers to assist in evacuations from Sudan

Cyprus said on Tuesday it had activated a humanitarian rescue mechanism for the evacuation of third-country civilians through the island from Sudan.

"The Republic of Cyprus intends to offer facilities to friendly countries for the repatriation of their nationals through Cyprus," the Cypriot Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Cyprus has facilitated humanitarian evacuations before. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from Lebanon through Cyprus in 2006 during Israel's war with Hezbollah.


9:05 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

China not received any casualty reports of Chinese citizens in Sudan: foreign ministry

Most Chinese nationals have been safely evacuated in groups to border ports of neighbouring countries, China's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Mao Ming said in a regular press briefing that it has not received any casualty reports of Chinese citizens in Sudan so far.


9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UK announces evacuation flights for citizens in Sudan

Britain on Tuesday said it had launched "a large-scale evacuation" of its citizens trapped in Sudan, where 10 days of urban combat have led to hundreds of deaths.

It comes following criticism in the UK that the government had abandoned British citizens there.

"The government has begun a large-scale evacuation of British passport holders from Sudan on RAF (Royal Air Force) flights," Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

"Priority will be given to the most vulnerable, including families with children and the elderly."

Foreign Office minister Andrew Mitchell said Monday that some 4,000 Britons with dual nationality and 400 with UK-only passports were in Sudan, while 2,000 people had registered with the ministry seeking help to get out.

A Foreign Office statement announcing the new evacuations said the UK military flights were due to depart from an airfield outside Khartoum.

It said UK citizens should "not make their way to the airfield unless they are called".

"The situation remains volatile and our ability to conduct evacuations could change at short notice," it added.

8:53 AM
The New Arab Staff

Egypt’s foreign ministry says embassy staff killed in Khartoum

Egypt’s foreign ministry said on Monday that the assistant administrative attache at its embassy in Khartoum has been killed amid fighting between rival military factions in the Sudanese capital.

"Muhammad El Gharrawi, was killed as he was driving to the embassy to follow up the procedures of the evacuations of the Egyptians stranded in Sudan,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Sudanese army, which originally reported that Egypt's assistant military attache had been killed, corrected its statement, saying the assistant administrative attache had been killed by fire from the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.