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Traumatised evacuees describe ‘horrendous’ scenes in Sudan capital

Many people arriving in Cyprus are traumatised, and they don’t want to speak about their journey.

On this holiday island, we watched as a hundred or more people slowly walked down the ramp from the back of a RAF Hercules into the Mediterranean sunshine. What a cultural shock!

The British Foreign Office Rapid Response Team is there to meet them. Many of these staff are working 20-hour days as planes land all day long.

Anyone who needs assistance can call on the help of medical personnel and aid workers. The Cypriot authorities are familiar with this situation, having experienced the exodus of Lebanese refugees in 2006. They’re also working closely together with the British.


Once they arrive, the process is very quick. Once they land, the process is quick.

Some people are exhilarated at the thought of reaching safety. Most of them are tired, silent and on the verge of tears.

Dr Abdraman and his four sons, along with his wife, were just about to board a flight back home when we met them.

Sudan: More Information

He had to send his wife away from her parents. She sobbed and buried her face in her scarf as her children described their experiences.

Image: Abdraman
Image: Dr Abdraman and his two sons

It was tiring to have to run upstairs and downstairs every time we heard bombs or bullets. The downstairs area is safer because the shots are usually aimed upwards. We might be hit.

If there’s space on the RAF flight, other nationalities will also be present.

Eltayeb Eltayeb was an Australian who had made it to the United States overnight.

He called the situation in Khartoum “horrendous”, “horrific”.

Image Eltayeb Eltayeb

“In the middle city, there were dead bodies all over. It was beginning to smell like carcasses.”

He said: “[There] were a number of buildings that were knocked down and homes that had been shattered. Many people have been displaced from their home, as well as many people who died.”

It’s sad because you can hear gunshots outside. You can hear bullets, tanks firing and missiles hitting their targets.

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Tears of joy as Sudanese evacuees are reunited with their families

It’s an incredibly traumatic and frightening experience to feel your house vibrate, or the windows shake.

Mr Eltayeb and his family lived about 20 minutes away from Khartoum’s centre. He believed that his house was located opposite the Rapid Support Forces headquarters, one of two groups involved in fighting.

You see someone with an AK-47 looking at you, and you walk back to your house.

Image: A flight carrying British nationals evacuated to Sudan

There’s a current famine. Food, water and supplies are in short supply. There’s no one bringing in supplies, and people are running low. They’re going jump on doors and start extorting homes sooner or later.”

Even if fighting continues, the British military will continue to operate rescue flights.

They may have to. The 72-hour truce is rapidly running out, and there are still hundreds of Britons trapped in Sudan .


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