The San Juan Daily Star
US and other countries evacuate embassy staff from Sudan
By Isabella Kwai
As violence between rival military factions in Sudan entered a ninth day on Sunday, a wave of countries, including France and Britain, mobilized evacuation efforts for their citizens and diplomatic staff within hours of the U.S. announcement.
With the airport in Khartoum ravaged by shelling and a route by land to Port Sudan more than 500 miles away, the evacuation efforts have proved challenging. The United States and France both relied on special operations troops, and Britain said 1,200 of its military personnel were involved in evacuating its diplomatic staff and their families.
Here is a look at the evacuation efforts announced by countries and international organizations:
— The United States evacuated less than 100 people, mostly embassy staff, from Khartoum early on Sunday, President Joe Biden said. Helicopters flew in from the nation of Djibouti, about 800 miles away, to carry them out. About 16,000 U.S. citizens are believed to be in Sudan, mostly dual nationals.
— France said it was coordinating a “rapid evacuation” of its nationals and diplomatic staff in cooperation with its European and allied partners. French special forces brought evacuating diplomats and citizens to a hangar at a military airfield to await onward travel, according to a Western official in touch with the group. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the operation, said one evacuee had been wounded by a bullet.
— The Netherlands is evacuating its citizens and embassy from Sudan to a “safe” location, according to the Dutch Embassy in Khartoum.
— Britain also evacuated its diplomats and their families from Sudan in what Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called “complex and rapid” operation by armed forces.
— Germany began evacuating its citizens from Khartoum. A similar mission was canceled last week because of the fighting.
— Sweden on Sunday approved a proposal to send 400 personnel from its armed forces to evacuate Swedish citizens and other foreign nationals, describing the situation as “serious.”
— Canada said it had decided to temporarily halt its operations in Sudan and move embassy officials to “work from a safe location outside of the country.”
— Turkey announced it would repatriate its citizens and other foreign nationals who had requested its help by land, traveling through an unnamed third country.
— India had two military transport planes in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, and a naval vessel in Port Sudan on standby to rescue its citizens. But any movement on the ground would depend on the security situation, which the government called “volatile.”
— Greece dispatched two aircraft and 30 members of the special forces to Egypt over the weekend in preparation for an evacuation of 120 Greek and Cypriot nationals from Khartoum, the country’s foreign minister, Nikos Dendias, said Sunday.
— Belgium said Sunday that it was collaborating with France and the Netherlands to evacuate European nationals, including Belgians, as quickly as possible.
— A convoy of vehicles carrying staff from the United Nations and other international aid groups was traveling from Khartoum for Port Sudan on Sunday, according to a U.S. official in contact with the convoy.
— Saudi Arabia evacuated its diplomatic staff on Saturday by land to Port Sudan, in the country’s east, and from there to Saudi Arabia, according to the Sudanese army leader, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan.
— China issued a notice via its embassy to Khartoum on Saturday asking its citizens to register if they wanted to be rescued.
— Hungary said Saturday that it had evacuated 14 of its citizens and 48 other foreign nationals by ship, sailing to Egypt.