Sudanese doctor working in Norwich hospital fears for her relatives fleeing battle zone

  • Dr Sara Abdelgalil told ITV News Anglia's Natalie Gray about her fears for her family

A NHS paediatrician from Sudan says she fears for her family as they try to flee the escalating violence back home.

Dr Sara Abdelgalil, a consultant pediatrician, is one of 19 Sudanese nationals who work at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Her friend Bushra, a professor of gastroenterology in Sudan, died two days ago after being attacked in the street, she said.

Dr Abdelgalil said she feared for her aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews who are all trying to flee to another country as the fragile ceasefire in the African country nears its end.

"It is very distressing, I'm very anxious," she told ITV News Anglia.

"I was actually on call when the armed conflict started and obviously I had to be very careful to do my job, but at the same time I was worried about my relatives and friends being bombed inside their houses and shot.

"It is very, very stressful."

A man walks by a house hit in recent fighting in Khartoum, Sudan. Credit: AP

When Dr Abdelgalil is not helping patients here in the UK, she is also trying to be a doctor in Sudan too, by providing long-distance medical support over the phone.

"We're trying to provide support for the patients so that they don't leave their house and get shot," she said.

"Parents send me a list [of questions] like: 'My child has a fever - what should I do?'

"When they say thank you I feel very emotional because I saved them from going to the street, taking the kids to a health facility and they may be shot on the way. This is the minimum we can do."

Thousands of British nationals in Sudan have been warned the UK “cannot guarantee” more evacuation flights once the ceasefire expires on Thursday night.

British people being evacuated from Sudan by the military. Credit: MOD

Meanwhile, some of those lucky enough to be evacuated have been reunited with relatives at Stansted Airport, with one man describing the conflict as a “nightmare”.

Women with small children and babies in prams were among approximately 300 people who were flown from Sudan, arriving on Wednesday. A further flight arrived on Thursday.

One man from Sudan, who did not give his name, described his experience as a “nightmare”.

Speaking outside the Essex airport, he said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to be back. It’s been a nightmare. We’ve never seen anything like it before.

British nationals fleeing Sudan arrive at Stansted on Thursday. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We saw it on the television before but we never thought it was going to happen to a peaceful country like Sudan.

“Khartoum is like a ghost city, everyone is leaving Khartoum now.

“We are very grateful to the British servicemen and women who risked their lives to come to Sudan and help us out.

“There are more people stranded there and I think there should be more awareness to those stranded. We were very lucky but not everyone was as lucky we are.

“I was in the middle of the conflict. There was bombing and shelling, the house next to us was shelled. It was like a Bond movie, I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

Help and advice

  • If you are in Sudan you can contact the FCDO 24/7 helpline at +44 1908 516 666

  • Select option 2 for consular services for British nationals.

  • If you’re in the UK and worried about a British person in Sudan you can call 020 7008 5000.

  • FCDO advises against travel to Sudan for security reasons. More information can be found on the government website.

  • If you have not registered your presence in Sudan, you can register here.

  • You should also check the travel advice for Sudan for the latest guidance.

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