As fighting in Sudan entered a fifth week, air strikes pummelled Khartoum Saturday, even as representatives of the country’s warring factions continued meeting in Saudi Arabia for talks to prevent a “humanitarian catastrophe”.
Meanwhile, Sudanese continue to flee the ongoing fighting between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
At the Argeen border with neighbouring Egypt, new families arrive every day, making the 1,000 kilometre journey from Khartoum through the desert in search of safety.
But not everyone has the financial means to be able to leave.
“The bus ride costs $250 a person. Then there’s the official tariffs on both sides of the crossing and rental for a place to live in Egypt. Not everyone can afford this, it’s a large expense,” said evacuee Wahag Gafar Ibrahim.
She said the trip was “really tiring and scary”, adding that the war in her country had “affected everyone”.
Another issue is that of holding a passport to enable them to enter Egypt.
“Some families lost their passports in the war, or they can’t afford to get one. They are living in the middle of a war zone. I hope they will find someone to help them flee,” said Sudanese bus owner, Ayman Mohamed.
The latest arrivals in Egypt are some of the almost 200,000 people who have escaped Sudan, in addition to the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced internally.
They’re carrying small suitcases, all they could bring with them from their lives back home as Ibrahim explained.
“There is no solution. I don’t see a solution. The Rapid Support Forces won’t surrender and the army is unable to change the situation. And we are lost between them. We left our homes, families, papers, diplomas, and our interests. We left our country.”
The United Nations says over half a million people have fled Khartoum alone, with hospitals in the capital shelled and rampant looting reported as residents suffer under chronic shortages of food, electricity, and medicine.
Hopes for a ceasefire remain dim after multiple truces were violated in past weeks.
On Saturday, Sudan launched a call to the international community, including the United Nations, the African Union, and other regional organisations, “to provide humanitarian assistance”.
The government said it was committed to “dedicating the port and airports of Port Sudan” on the Red Sea, Dongola airport in the country’s north and Wadi Seidna air base near the capital “to receive aid”.
Civilians and aid groups have repeatedly pleaded for humanitarian corridors to secure vital assistance, as aid agencies have been systematically looted and at least 18 humanitarian workers killed.