Dozens of Sudanese refugees die from heatwave en route to Aswan

Sudanese refugees believed to have died from the heat wave en route to Aswan. [Getty]

Dozens of Sudanese refugees lost their lives earlier last week as they reportedly attempted to cross into Egypt via neighbouring Aswan during a heat wave striking the southern Egyptian province for days, reaching as high as nearly 50 degrees Celsius.

The Sudanese nationals are believed to have died en route to neighbouring Aswan carried inside open trucks reportedly facilitated by smugglers, the Sudanese Consul in Aswan, Abdel Qadir Abdullah said in an audio statement as he expressed condolences to their families.

“Their bodies were transferred to the morgue at the Aswan general hospital three days ago…after they died from sunstroke, dehydration or road accidents,” Abdullah said in the statement posted on the official Sudanese embassy page, without further elaborating on the number of victims.

According to Egyptian and Sudanese news outlets, the bodies of about 50 illegal Sudanese immigrants have so far been transferred to the morgues of local hospitals in Aswan, including elderly citizens, women and children.

“We advise our people against taking such a grave risk and move to the safe provinces in Sudan instead of risking their lives,” Abdullah said.

An unforgiving heat wave has recently ravaged Egypt, especially the southern part, claiming the lives of 40 Egyptians in Aswan only, which prompted MP Reham Abdel-Naby on Sunday, 9 June, to call on the government to exempt southern provinces from the daily power cuts, initially intended to reduce electrical overloads.

Earlier this week, award-winning Sudanese filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala, best known for his film “You Will Die at 20,” announced on his Facebook official page the death of his mother’s cousin from a son stroke after she had crossed into Aswan. It was not immediately clear whether she entered Egypt legally.

On Tuesday, local independent Mada Masr online news outlet reported, citing Abdel-Naby, who represents Aswan, as saying that most of the bodies were coincidently discovered by border guards and other relevant authorities.

The New Arab could not reach the local coroner’s office for confirmation on the body count or the official causes of death at the publishing time.   

A video recently going viral showed Sudanese nationals in dire condition carried by a truck in a seemingly hot desert as they described their ordeal; some appeared tired or unconscious.

Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese citizens have sought refuge in Egypt after the civil war erupted in Sudan over a year ago between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary.

Before war broke out in Sudan in April last year, Egypt had required only Sudanese men between the ages of 16 and 49 to obtain an entry visa. Women, children and the elderly were exempted from this rule.

But as the number soared, Egypt required all Sudanese nationals, regardless of age or gender, to obtain a visa that took from three to four months to be acquired. The Egyptian authorities justified the new measure as a means to help limit “illegal activities,” including fraud.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *