The UK Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, has informed UK citizens stranded in Sudan that the government may face challenges evacuating them when the current ceasefire expires. He urged those affected to head to Wadi Saeedna air strip near Khartoum as soon as possible. As of Wednesday, 536 Britons had been rescued by six flights and a steady flow of people were arriving at the air strip to board Royal Air Force planes. The 72-hour ceasefire between Sudan’s army and Rapid Support Forces is set to expire at midnight local time, with concerns that clashes may continue.
UK Evacuation Plan
Over 2,000 UK citizens in Sudan have registered with the Foreign Office evacuation plan, although thousands more may be in the country. British passport holders and their immediate family members with existing UK entry clearance are the only ones eligible for evacuation. They are being evacuated on RAF planes to Cyprus, before being flown to London. An evacuation route from Port Sudan is also being worked on, and HMS Lancaster has been dispatched. However, critics have accused the government of being slow to initiate the evacuation plan, with other countries such as Germany already having completed evacuations.
Additionally, Home Secretary Suella Braverman has ruled out introducing a safe and legal route for asylum seekers in Sudan to come to the UK, stating that the focus is on supporting British nationals and their dependents. The fighting between Sudan’s army and Rapid Support Forces has pushed the country’s population to the brink, with food becoming scarce, electricity cut off in many areas, and hospitals shutting down. Multiple aid agencies have had to suspend operations, and the UN refugee agency is preparing for tens of thousands of people fleeing to neighboring countries.
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