The administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has so far evacuated some 409 Filipino nationals from conflict-torn Sudan as it pushed on mass evacuation efforts amid a three-day ceasefire declared on Tuesday.
In a report by Malacañang, of the 409 Filipinos, some 335 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and family members left Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, on April 26 for Egypt via Wadi Halfa Highway.
Another 35 OFWs and 15 students were safely evacuated to Egypt with the help of Filipinos in Sudan as well as personnel from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
DMW Secretary Susan Ople and Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac are currently in Cairo, Egypt, to assist in the government’s evacuation efforts and lead the distribution of welfare assistance to evacuated OFWs from war-torn Sudan.
In a briefing on Tuesday, the DMW chief said President Marcos directed them to quickly bring all affected Filipinos in Sudan to safety and expressed assurance that those who are not in possession of any passport or identity card will still be given aid and that their documents will be taken cared of when they reach the border, with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) taking the lead.
While leading the evacuation efforts, however, Philippine Ambassador to Egypt Ezzedin Tago and Vice Consul Bojer Capati figured in a car accident while in a rush to get to the Sudan-Egypt border to help Filipino evacuees.
Both officials are safe and are still proceeding to facilitate the evacuation.
The Philippine Embassy in Egypt has jurisdiction over Filipinos in Sudan.
Meanwhile, the Department of National Defense (DND) continues to closely coordinate with concerned agencies to address the immediate needs of the Filipinos seeking repatriation.
Senior Undersecretary Carlito Galvez, DND officer-in-charge, said he has already coordinated with the DFA for the repositioning of Defense Attaché from the United Arab Emirates and Israel to help the Philippine Embassy in Cairo in the evacuation of Filipinos from Sudan.
Since the violence broke out 11 days ago, 459 deaths and 4,072 injured people have been reported, with the World Health Organization (WHO) warning of “huge biological risks” to people as Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has taken over the National Public Health Laboratory in Khartoum.
The DFA on Wednesday night raised Alert Level 3 in Sudan amid the ongoing political crisis worsened by clashes between two warring factions that broke out in the country last April 15.
“The public is informed that Alert Level 3 (Voluntary Repatriation/Evacuation) has been raised for the whole of the Sudan region due to the ongoing political situation in the country,” the DFA said in an advisory. | PND
Photos: Department of Foreign Affairs