There is a sigh of relief from South African nationals who were stuck in Sudan. A group of about 10 South African evacuees arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on Saturday.
They were taken to Saudi Arabia after being evacuated from a war-torn country.
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, will welcome the remaining South Africans evacuated from Sudan on Sunday.
The conflict between Sudan’s army and a paramilitary group, Rapid Support Forces has triggered a rush among countries to evacuate their diplomats and citizens.
More than 450 people have been killed and nearly 4 200 others wounded in the fighting. Some relief agencies say the numbers are expected to rise.
The group’s evacuation has been facilitated by the Department of International Relations. The Hainsworth family is at the airport to welcome their son back, who works in Sudan and was trapped there as a result of the outbreak of violence.
First group of South African evacuees from Sudan arrive home: Khayelihle Khumalo
Claudine Hainsworth says that her family was relieved that their son was rescued.
“He’s a very jovial character our son Johno- so, he was never in doubt that he’ll be rescued and that he’ll be on his way home. But it was very nerve-racking because they shut the internet down, so we couldn’t really make contact- we had no way of communicating with him, so that was not nice not knowing what was going on. We asked him what he would like to do, but I think he would just like to sleep because he literally hasn’t slept properly for four- or five days- but definitely, there’s a braai waiting for him.”
One of the family(Hainsworth) members waiting at OR Tambo International Airport for South Africans who have been evacuated from Sudan. #sabcnews #Sudan pic.twitter.com/yACNU7GJj0
— KhayelihleKhumalo-James Jnr (@KhayaJames) April 29, 2023
All South Africans safely evacuated
Over 600 people were moved from Sudan to Saudi Arabia and then repatriated to their respective countries.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says that all South Africans who were stuck in conflict-torn Sudan have been safely evacuated.
It says there were some difficulties with the evacuation operation from Sudan. According to the report, some South Africans and other nationals were unable to enter Egypt as agreed because they lacked the necessary travel documents. Departmental spokesperson, Clayson Monyela says everyone will be assisted.
“From the group that we evacuated from Sudan, there are several nationals that didn’t bring their travel documents with …. the other nationals were allowed to cross into Egypt.”
According to aid organisation, Gift of the Givers, which assisted the department with the evacuation, the evacuees included, 8 South Africans and an American man and his daughter, who is also a South African citizen.
One of the evacuees who arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on Saturday was Jonathan Hainsworth. He expresses gratitude for his return to South Africa and hopes that the situation in Sudan improves.
“We’re grateful to be back – and just thanks to everyone that helped us get here safely – just a huge relief. It’s with a heavy heart that we left Sudan, we’re doing some exciting work there, and we really hope that they sort out the situation- and we can get back there and continue working. Lucky for us we were in Port Sudan, for the entirety of the situation- cause that’s where we’re based- but on the first two- days there were a lot of fighter jets flying around Port Sudan – and bombing the RSF bases – so, luckily we were on the outskirts of that – but we could still hear the bombs and hear the shooting.”
Original Story by www.sabcnews.com