After days of fear, dread and desperation, British families are now on their way to safety on rescue flights out of Sudan. The perilous journey to the airfield in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, was made during a fragile ceasefire. At Larnaca Airport in Cyprus, where Britons board a second flight, Shereen Soliman expressed her relief at escaping Sudan. She described the situation as “something else” and “very bad”, and said she was glad to be returning to London with her two children, Karim (10) and Diyalam (8). Karim spoke of hearing gunshots and explosions while they were in the house, but was looking forward to being back in London because it was safe there.
However, Shereen was left worrying for her family members who were unable to join her in the UK due to not having the right to do so. She said she felt sorry for Sudan, as it was her home country and she wanted her children to feel safe there. Yahya Yahya, another British national, was also thankful to have reached a safe place after trying to flee Sudan with his family since the fighting started 11 days ago. He said it was “quite difficult” waiting to hear that Britain would help evacuate its people.
The UK has been criticised for not doing enough to get Britons out of Sudan, as many foreign nationals have already been repatriated to their home countries. France has said all its nationals are thought to have been evacuated and it is now ready to help other countries get their people away from the conflict. Stories have emerged of timely escapes, such as one British man whose sister managed to be evacuated overnight. She had only four dates and one egg left to share between her and 13 others.
It is clear that the British families have gone through a difficult time in Sudan and are relieved to be heading back home. While some have been able to escape with their families, others have had to leave behind loved ones in the conflict-hit country. The UK has been criticised for its slow response in getting its citizens out of Sudan, but it is reassuring that other countries are now offering assistance in evacuating people from the region.