Final UK evacuation flight leaves Sudan as some NHS doctors left behind

The final UK evacuation flight has departed from Port Sudan carrying British nationals and other civilians with documentation permitting them to enter the UK.

Before the flight, one of 29 the UK has operated from Sudan as part of its evacuation efforts, the Foreign Secretary urged British nationals still wanting to leave the war-torn nation to make their way to the port on the Red Sea in the east of the country.

As of Tuesday, 2,341 people, 1,195 British nationals and other nationalities, including Sudanese dependants of British nationals, have been airlifted out of the conflict. No 10 confirmed that, as of Monday, 18 Sudanese clinicians had left the country as part of the UK evacuation.

In guidance issued on its website on Tuesday, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “The UK Government will run final evacuation flights from Port Sudan on 3 May. If you plan to leave Sudan, you should arrive at the Coral Hotel in Port Sudan by 10am on 3 May to be processed to travel. After that, no further British evacuation flights will operate from Port Sudan.”

In the early hours of Thursday, the FCDO updated its advice page on Sudan to say: “The UK government is no longer running evacuation flights from Port Sudan. The last evacuation flight has now departed.”

The UK originally ran its evacuation operation out of the Wadi Saeedna airfield on the outskirts of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. The last flight from here left on Saturday evening, after which British officials were forced to abandon the site due to “a decline in demand by British nationals, and while the situation on the ground remains volatile”.

A decision to refuse Sudanese NHS doctors permission to board UK evacuation flights was reversed after widespread outrage.

However, some in this group are still stuck in Sudan. The British Medical Association’s Dr Latifa Patel said on Tuesday: “We have heard reports that nine NHS doctors, who were unable to make it to the evacuation points over the weekend, remain stuck in the region. We’re continuing to call on Government to ensure that no one is left behind.”

The doctors’ union said the Government’s late decision-making had put NHS doctors and their families’ lives in avoidable further risk as they made the perilous journey to the Wadi Saeedna Air Base and subsequent evacuation from Port Sudan.

Sudanese nationals who applied for UK visas remain stuck in Sudan after the British embassy failed to return their passports before removing its staff from the conflict. Passports and travel documentation belonging to people who had been granted visas or were in the process of applying for a UK visa are locked in secure storage in a processing centre in Khartoum.

Heba Elshich, 34, who works as a freelance migration consultant, applied for a visa in March. She planned to travel to the UK later this month to visit friends and watch Manchester United play Fulham in London.

On 21 April, Ms Elshich was notified that the visa processing centre in central Khartoum had closed and her passport was stored in a “safe place”.

Mujtaba Ahmed, a structural engineer living in Cardiff, told i he was desperate for the Government to expand its criteria for who is eligible for evacuation flights. Mr Ahmed’s wife, Mazza Hamid, was granted a dependant visa days before the UK evacuated embassy staff from Sudan. Ms Hamid’s passport remains locked in a visa processing centre in the country’s capital, which has meant she cannot leave to come to the UK or flee to neighbouring countries.

The Government said it will continue provide support to those affected where possible.

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