UK explores providing humanitarian support to Sudan after evacuations
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday it was exploring options to provide humanitarian assistance to Sudan in coordination with its international allies, the United Nations and NGOs, after a large-scale evacuation of its citizens from the northeast African country.
A total of 2,197 people had been evacuated from Sudan as of 1630 GMT, the government said in a statement, adding that it has set up a team at Port Sudan to provide consular assistance to Britons, including those leaving by commercial routes.
The tally could increase as further flights carrying British nationals and others, including Sudanese doctors working in Britain's state-run National Health Service (NHS), were expected from Port Sudan in the evening.
"As the focus turns to humanitarian and diplomatic efforts, we will continue do all we can to press for a long-term ceasefire and an immediate end to the violence in Sudan," foreign minister James Cleverly said in the statement.
Britain's International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell met Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto and African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat in Nairobi over the weekend to discuss the conflict, the government said.
Countries around the world conducted one of the biggest international evacuations in years last week following the sudden outbreak of fighting in Sudan, with the U.N. estimating on Monday that 800,000 people might flee the country due to the conflict.
Britain, which last week estimated that around 4,000 Britons were stuck in Sudan, arranged extra flights from Port Sudan in east Sudan after the end of its evacuation flights from Wadi Saeedna airfield, near Khartoum, on Saturday.
In addition to British nationals, the government has also helped evacuate 1,087 people from other nations, including the United States, Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, Germany and Australia, according to the statement.
Defence minister Ben Wallace said a Royal Navy ship will remain at Port Sudan and continue to provide support.
"The situation remains volatile and our ability to conduct evacuations could change at short notice," the government cautioned.
(Reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Sandra Maler)