To escape the war, find medical care impossible to obtain in Sudan or pursue studies interrupted by the conflict, hundreds of Sudanese sometimes wait for days in front of the passport office which has just reopened in Port Sudan.
After almost five months of cessation, the resumption of distributions of the precious sesame pushes men, women and children to pile up every day since early morning under the courtyard of the passport office of Port Sudan, in the spared coastal east by the fighting which left thousands dead and millions displaced.
There, they wait to be able to access the main building, crowded, in the oppressive heat.
“We want to go anywhere outside of Sudan because here we have no rights, neither to eat nor to educate our children,” Marwa Omar, who fled Khartoum under the bombs and is looking for now to obtain passports for her four children.
Since the start of the war between rival generals vying for power on April 15, the administrative services of the capital, where the fighting is among the most intense, have been at a standstill.
It was in Port Sudan that the number two military official, Malik Agar, inaugurated a new passport printing factory at the end of August, with great fanfare.
Since then, like Ms. Omar, many have flocked to this city which is home to the country's only operational airport and where government and UN officials have taken up residence.
Officials at the passport service, overwhelmed, are struggling to meet the demand, which is enormous, according to Feras Mohammed, who came to make one for his youngest child.
“Some people have been there since Thursday and still have not managed to register their requests,” he told AFP. “Everything is very poorly organized,” he adds.
“Without a piston, we can’t do anything,” regrets Ms. Omar.
And for those who are lucky enough to be able to enter, despite the fans and air conditioners running at full speed with a monstrous noise, the heat is suffocating.
“It’s so full that it’s hard to breathe, it needs to be better organized,” says Mr. Mohammed.
“The room is cramped, there are no seats, the elderly people sit on the floor,” says Chehab Mohammed, who is also trying to obtain passports.
Not enough to discourage some who want at all costs to leave the country, its residential neighborhoods under bombs, water and electricity cuts, crossfire and stray bullets.
They are ready to pay the 120,000 Sudanese pounds (nearly 190 euros) necessary to obtain a passport, almost the average salary in the country, already one of the poorest in the world before the war which plunged it into real poverty. disaster according to the UN.
More than one in two Sudanese need humanitarian aid to survive and six million of them are on the verge of famine, humanitarians warn.
Nour Hassan came from Khartoum to make her passport, that of her husband and those of their two children.
Arriving on Sunday morning in Port Sudan, she comes every day until 9:30 p.m. but, she told AFP, "we couldn't do anything because nothing is organized."
With her family, she wants to go to Cairo: “I have relatives there,” she explains.
Relatives who can help obtain a visa for Egypt, the large northern neighbor which, before the war, did not require visas for Sudanese women or children, but now requires them from all nationals.
From Port Sudan, many other families choose to fly to the Gulf where thousands of Sudanese have worked for a long time, notably to the United Arab Emirates which now offers one-year visas to refugees from the country at war.
“We are leaving because Khartoum has become unlivable,” says Ms. Hassan.
And added: “It’s a temporary solution, we’ll come back when things are better.”
17/09/2023 07:33:06 - Port Sudan (Sudan) (AFP) - © 2023 AFP