Malacañang on Thursday reported that the Philippine government has safely evacuated 409 Filipinos from war-torn Sudan.
According to a Presidential Communications Office (PCO) news update, some 335 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and family members left Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, for Egypt via Wadi Halfa Highway, while another 35 OFWs and 15 students were evacuated to Egypt with the help of Filipinos in Sudan and personnel from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
DMW Secretary Susan Ople and Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac are currently in Cairo, Egypt to lead the distribution of welfare assistance to evacuated OFWs.
In a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, Ople said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. directed them to quickly bring all affected Filipinos in Sudan to safety.
Ople assured 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 care of when they reach the border, with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) taking the lead.
The PCO reported that 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 PCO noted.
The Philippine Embassy in Egypt has jurisdiction over Filipinos in Sudan.
The Philippine Embassy in Egypt has also made representations with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate the temporary entry into Egypt of Filipino nationals.
The embassy is eyeing the deployment of assistance-to-national teams in two locations in Wadi Halfa and Port Sudan to provide further consular assistance to evacuating Filipinos.
Efforts are also continuous to secure more buses for evacuation.
“The Embassy continues to monitor developments in Sudan; continues to coordinate the evacuation and repatriation of Filipinos and is in communication with Filipinos to ensure their safety and well-being,” DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said in a separate statement.
Also on Wednesday, the French Embassy in Manila said two Filipinos were able to join France's ongoing rapid evacuation operations in Sudan.
"The French Crisis and Support Centre (CDCS) confirms the presence of a Filipino national in the airport operations and another in the operation conducted with the frigate. The operations were conducted in conjunction with the authorities of the various countries of the nationals, who reported them," it said.
Latest data from the DFA showed that there are more than 700 Filipinos living and working in Sudan.
Meanwhile, the Department of National Defense, in coordination with the DFA, is already making efforts to reposition the 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.
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