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NHS doctor’s wife trapped with children calls on UK to send planes ‘to take us home’

A doctor trapped in Sudan with her two young daughters says she feels the situation is “hopeless” after the final UK evacuation flights left.

Dr Sara Ibrahim and her children have been unable to join the evacuation process out of Sudan even though they all live in London and have UK Biometric Residence Permits.

Her husband Mohamed Osman, currently in London, is an NHS doctor working in A&E at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, but she has not registered to practise as a doctor in the UK.

So when the Government extended the evacuation criteria to include “non-British nationals in Sudan who are working as clinicians within the NHS”, Dr Ibrahim and her children, who live in Tower Hamlets, east London, remained outside this category.

She told i: “I feel completely confused, I don’t know what to do.

“I’m not optimistic, I don’t think the war is going to end soon.

“I really need to leave the country; it doesn’t feel safe for me or my kids.

“I feel hopeless and from what I see there is no chance there will be peace in the near future.”

The Government’s final evacuation flights left from Port Sudan on Wednesday amid an increasingly volatile situation.

Dr Ibrahim was in Khartoum, staying with her family and trying to get treatment for her three-year-old daughter Heidi, who is autistic, when the violent struggle for control of Sudan began between the Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces.

Her family’s home, near the Sudan Sports City in Khartoum, was in the thick of the fighting. She recounted how “one of the missiles hit a home near us, all the windows in our house were shattered”.

Five days into the conflict, the terrified family left and headed for her grandmother’s home in Al Hasaheisa, south of Khartoum.

“Everybody panicked, they were upset and very frightened,” she said. “We left in such a panic, I didn’t even take my passport.”

Since the UK evacuation began on 25 April, Dr Ibrahim said she has “heard nothing at all” from any authorities to say she would be included in the process.

“I feel disappointed really as we all live in the UK, my husband works for the NHS – at least they could give us options,” she said. “Unfortunately no-one has called and no one has sent me an email.”

Now she is weighing up whether to take the risk of travelling 18 hours to Port Sudan with her daughters Heidi and Sereen, who celebrated her first birthday on Wednesday.

If she does go, she notes there is no guarantee she will be able to get on the ferry across the Red Sea to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

“When I think about travelling to Port Sudan, it is very far from us and it means going back through Khartoum, which is very risky,” she said. “I really don’t know what to do.

“I would really like the UK government just to extend the (evacuation) flights.

“I hope there are planes sent to come and take us home.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The UK has carried out by far the longest and largest evacuation of any Western country from Sudan, bringing 2,341 people out in under one week. It has always been the case that the evacuation has been open to British nationals and their eligible family members, with a later exemption for NHS clinicians.

“Preventing a humanitarian emergency in Sudan is our focus right now. Alongside the UK evacuation effort, we are working with international partners and the United Nations to bring an end to fighting.”

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