After the start of the war in Sudan, hundreds of thousands of people fled to neighboring countries. AFSC and partners supported refugees arriving in Ethiopia and South Sudan, providing them with food, medicine, clothing, hygiene supplies, and covering immigration and travel expenses.
With support from AFSC, Enass—a human rights defender—and her two sisters evacuated from Sudan to Ethiopia. Here Enass shares her story.
On escaping Khartoum
I wasn’t planning to leave Khartoum, but I didn’t have a choice. One of the reasons we left our house in the beginning of the war was because our neighbor—who lives just four houses down the street—was cooking in her home, and she was killed. We saw that.
It took us nine days to reach Addis Ababa. My sisters and I moved from one city to another almost every day. We rented flats that would normally cost $10 to $15 USD a day, but because of the war and people taking advantage, rents were $100 to
$150 USD a day.
We also traveled some very dangerous roads. AFSC arranged for a private driver to take us in a caravan to Ethiopia.
When we reached Ethiopia immigration, we were surprised that the cost of a visa was $80, when it was just $50 a few months ago. All these costs can be very difficult for refugees. Many have fled without anything. Many don’t have access to their bank accounts because banks in Sudan have been destroyed.
On resettling in Addis Ababa
It has not been easy. Everything is different from Sudan. Thanks to AFSC, it’s been good. We stayed at a guesthouse in Addis Ababa of an AFSC staff member, then we moved to a flat. Now I’m applying to get a visa that will allow me to stay permanently.
We are also keeping busy with other initiatives, which helps me forget about my own problems. We are meeting with other groups in the Salama Hub [a coalition supported by AFSC]. I’m still very involved in what’s happening in Khartoum, working day and night and communicating with people there. I’m helping to reach out to pharmacies, resources for food and water, and helping people with temporary relocation.
On the humanitarian situation in Sudan
It’s a humanitarian disaster in Sudan. The health sector is completely damaged—90% of hospitals are bombed. People don’t have water, food, and electricity. People wait in line for hours just to get bread. But even though food is out there, you
might be shot trying to get it.
The war is not a civil war. It is a war between two factions of the Sudanese military. The Sudanese people have nothing to do with this war except that they have to pay the price.
We want more international attention to what’s happening. If this Sudanese war continues, this country will disappear. The neighboring countries in Africa and the Middle East will be affected by that.
People need to do the right thing to help people. It's also important to support human rights defenders. They are people on the front lines. When you help human rights defenders, you’re helping tens of thousands more people because they do so much
work for many others.