The spiraling security crisis in Sudan has prompted evacuation missions from governments around the world in an effort to save their citizens from the disaster which has seen access to vital goods including food and medicines all but collapse.
Foreigners still stuck in the African country—which is currently being torn apart by internal conflict—are now taking drastic action in order to survive. According to one British lawmaker, some have even started slaughtering their pets as food supplies run out.
Speaking on BBC radio on Monday, the chairwoman of the U.K.’s Commons Foreign Affairs Committee estimated there could still be over 4,000 Brits awaiting evacuation from Sudan who are living in “abject fear.” “I’m even hearing stories of people killing their pets because they’re worried they’re going to starve,” Alicia Kearns said, according to the Independent.
On Sunday, military aircraft from countries in Europe and the Middle East arrived in Sudan to extract their citizens and diplomats. The planes followed an operation conducted by U.S. special forces to evacuate the American embassy. Around 100 troops in three helicopters safely took American diplomats out of Khartoum—the Sudanese capital—to an undisclosed location in Ethiopia, the Associated Press reports.
“I am grateful for the commitment of our Embassy staff and the skill of our service members who brought them to safety,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. He also slammed the “tragic violence in Sudan” which has “already cost the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians.”
“It’s unconscionable and must stop,” Biden added. Thousands of private American citizens still remain inside the country, though a government-organized evacuation is not currently planned for them.
Over the weekend France evacuated almost 400 people to Djibouti, while a Dutch C-130 Hercules plane took its nationals to Jordan. Germany has also taken over 300 people to Jordan on evacuation flights, while several hundred more were taken out by Italy, Spain, and Greece. Japan has sent three aircraft to Djibouti to collect its citizens from Sudan, while Russia says evacuation plans for its own nationals are currently impossible to execute as they involve crossing frontlines.
Fighting erupted in Khartoum and other areas around Sudan earlier this month as two military factions started battling to take control of the country. The conflict between the Sudanese army and a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has plunged the country into chaos, with civilians, diplomats, and aid workers caught in the crossfire.
Over 420 people have been killed so far with another 3,700 injured. Some 264 civilians are among the dead. Hospitals and civilian aircraft have been damaged or destroyed during the conflict, further escalating the humanitarian crisis, as over 10,000 refugees have fled across the border into South Sudan in a bid to escape the bloodshed.