UAE: Over 260 Sudanese people stranded in country due to conflict provided with shelter, food by local community

They visited Dubai with the intention of returning to their home country before or during Eid Al Fitr, but found themselves stuck after the sudden closure of Khartoum Airport


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Image for illustrative purposes only.
Image for illustrative purposes only.

Published: Sun 23 Apr 2023, 5:19 PM

Last updated: Sun 23 Apr 2023, 10:46 PM

More than 260 Sudanese people who came to the UAE either for shopping, medical treatment or while in transit, were provided with shelter and food by the Sudanese community after having been stranded in the country due to the closure of Khartoum Airport, following the military clashes which broke out in the capital a week ago. They ran out of money and their visit visas expired.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dr Amin Jaffar Taha, head of the Sudanese community and the Sudanese social club in the UAE, said that the stranded came to Dubai for shopping and other purposes, with plans to return to their home country before or during Eid. After the eruption of the conflict in Khartoum, they found themselves stuck in Dubai with limited cash, leading to some of them to run out of funds. They found themselves with nowhere to go.

The stranded made an appeal to members of the Sudanese community to help them with accommodation and food until the situation improved and they were able to travel back to Khartoum.

The Sudanese community club responded with aplomb to their appeal, forming a committee in coordination with the Sudan General consulate in Dubai to support them until they are able to return home. Dr Taha explains that they set up a group on WhatsApp to locate the stranded and provide them with what they needed.

"We have [assigned] a number and published it on social media to allow them to approach the Sudanese community club. We have received, until now, a total of 260 stranded including women [and] families. When we studied their situation, we found that some of them checked out of their hotel and arrived at airports in various emirates to check in to board the departing flight, but were [met with] the cancellation of the trip to Khartoum Airport. They had no money left in their pockets and [had] no place to go."

Community efforts

Dr Taha added that the stranded include two sick people and their companions who came to Dubai for medical treatment. The formed committee provided these people, along with 20 men, accommodation in the City Palace Hotel in Bur Dubai until the end of this month.

Meanwhile, 18 men were housed in the York International Hotel in Bur Dubai. A total of 24 women were housed in furnished apartments in the Emirate of Ajman, Al Yasmine Tower.

Coordination with Dubai police, charity organisations

"We communicated with the Human Rights Department in Dubai Police", Dr Taha said, "and coordination was made with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charitable Foundation and the Consulate General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. They [helped] provide free housing for 120 people in the Youth House in Al Qusais for a period of 15 days, with food and care. Most of these men spent the first two days in mosques."

"However, the number is expected to increase, so we are now coordinating with UAE Crescent, Dar Al Ber Charity organisation and Zayed for charity work organisations to provide support, including accommodation and food."

Stranded women

Rona Mawia Hamza, secretary of social affairs at the Sudanese social club, said that a committee to support women had been formed by community members. The group of women include two cancer patients, with one suffering from clots and the other from a pulmonary edema. Sudanese volunteering doctors and pharmacists provided all necessary medical care for free, and continue to follow them daily."

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Fatima Eissa, 55 years old, said that she came to Dubai intending to spend only 10 days shopping for some goods to sell to her customers in Khartoum during Eid. Her flight was booked on April 15 and the conflict erupted on April 14, leading to her trip being cancelled when the airport shut down.

“I had only Dh300 left, and I didn’t know where to go; I got so worried. I talked to some [people] who advised me to appeal to social media, such as Facebook and WhatsApp. Thank God and community members in the UAE and UAE charity organisations for help and support,” she said.

S.A. said she came from India, and stopped over in Dubai for three days, but got stuck when her Emirates flight got cancelled.

Yousif Al Sadeq said that they were supposed to depart the UAE on an Emirates flight on April 15, but, after the boarding pass was issued, he was informed of the cancellation of the flight. There were 16 people set to board the plane, including patients and the elderly, all of whom now didn't know where to go or what to do.

"The Sudanese community members, in coordination with Consul, helped us and provided us with accommodation and necessary needs. They are still providing their support", Al Sadeq said.


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