Crowds of exhausted Sudanese and foreigners crowd into Sudan’s main seaport as they await evacuation from the chaos-ridden country.
After more than two weeks of fighting, parts of the capital, Khartoum, appear increasingly deserted.
Civilians have packed buses and trucks on their way to Egypt’s northern border. Many have also left for Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast.
The relative tranquility of the port city, from which many foreign governments have evacuated their citizens, seemed the safer option.
“Much of the capital is empty,” said Abdalla al-Fatih, a Khartoum resident who fled to Port Sudan with his family on Monday. He said they had been trapped for two weeks and everyone on his street had left.
When they arrived in Port Sudan after a 20-hour journey, they found thousands, many of them women and children, camped outside the port area. Many had been left out in the open for more than a week without food or basic provisions in the sweltering heat. Others crowded into mosques or hotels in the city.
According to UN agencies, the fighting has displaced at least 334,000 people within Sudan and sent tens of thousands to neighboring countries such as Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Ethiopia. Aid workers are increasingly concerned about the lack of basic services in these areas.
Nearly 1,000 people arrive at the Ethiopian border every day, Paul Dillon, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, said at a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday.
At least 20,000 people have entered Chad, whose border is at the town of el-Geneina in Darfur, where fighting killed dozens and injured hundreds last week.