Many exhausted Sudanese and foreigners arrived in Port Sudan, the country's main seaport, joining thousands who have waited for days to be evacuated out of the chaos-stricken nation. Others have been driven in packed buses and trucks, seeking shelter in Egypt, Sudan’s northern neighbour.
“Much of the capital has become empty,” said Abdalla al-Fatih, a Khartoum resident, “all (residents of) our street fled the war.”
The fighting, now in its third week, has turned Khartoum and its neighbouring city of Omdurman into a battlefield. Fierce clashes taking place inside residential neighbourhoods that have become “ghost areas,” residents say.
The conflict, which capped months of worsening tensions, pits the military, led by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, against a rival paramilitary group, called the Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
Al-Fatih’s family managed to get out of Khartoum over the weekend after they spent the past two weeks trapped in their home in Khartoum’s neighbourhood of Kafouri, a major flashpoint since the fighting broke out on 15 April.
They arrived in Port Sudan late Monday, after an exhausting 20-hour trip, he said. There, they found thousands, including many women and children, camping outside the port area. Many had been there for more than a week, with no food and other services, he said.
Port Sudan has become a hub for foreign governments to evacuate their citizens air and sea.
At the congested crossing points with Egypt, thousands of families have waited for days inside buses or sought temporary shelter in the border city of Wadi Halfa to finalize their paperwork to be allowed into Egypt.