The Canadian News

Canadians awaiting flight out of Sudan are under stress, running low on supplies


Gamiela Elsied, among those waiting, says conditions at airport ‘not very great’


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A group of Canadians gathered at a Sudanese military airport are under stress and dealing with hot weather, dwindling cellphone batteries and a lack of food and money, as they wait for a rescue flight out of the country.

Conditions here are not very great, said Gamiela Elsied, a Sudanese Canadian who made a treacherous trip to the airport, located north of the capital Khartoum, two days ago and is still waiting for a flight out after an expected flight was cancelled.

Elsied is among hundreds of Canadians trying to get out of Sudan following the eruption of a violent power struggle (new window) between the country’s military and the rival paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) earlier this month.

Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand says roughly 250 Canadians have been able to leave Sudan (new window) so far. But Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has previously indicated there are hundreds who want Canada’s help in getting out (new window).

Not an easy journey

In an interview with CBC News Network on Friday, Elsied said she made an 11-hour drive from Sudan’s Gezira state to the airport.

It wasn’t an easy journey, with gas being hard to come by and serious safety concerns becoming apparent.

Part of the way was safe, but when we came closer to Khartoum, then this is when we started to see the RSF and the [Sudanese] army troops, she said.

Plumes of smoke can be seen on the horizon in an area east of Khartoum, Sudan's capital, on Friday as fighting continues between the country's army and paramilitary forces.

Plumes of smoke can be seen on the horizon in an area east of Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, on Friday as fighting continues between the country’s army and paramilitary forces.


Elsied said she and the others alongside her at the airport faced their own challenges in getting there, only to find they had nowhere to go.

And we all feel like we just made it out here for nothing, because we expected to be out of here right now.

She said the people waiting at the airport are dealing with very high temperatures, on top of the stresses of the situation.

I have been here since yesterday, but other people, this is Day 3 or Day 4 for them, and we are just waiting indefinitely.

For Elsied, she simply wants a way out — although she’s not sure whether that will be on board a Canadian airplane.

I’m hoping they might work something out with the British, because they have been taking their people out regularly, said Elsied, who expressed fading hope that a Canadian flight was going to arrive.

Seeing what other governments have done to get people out has left Elsied feeling critical of Ottawa’s own efforts.

I see other nations evacuating their people and I know it could be done, she said.

I lived in Canada for 26 years and I expected more in [a] time like this.

CBC News ·

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