LONDON: A charity worker in the UK has hit out at the government for not doing enough to evacuate hundreds of people trapped in Sudan, including his wife and children.

Alhussein Ahmed, who is based in Liverpool, where he works for the Merseyside Refugee Support Network, said Home Office delays had left his wife without necessary travel documents after the family applied for a passport for their 10-month-old son.

She and the child, who was born in Sudan last year, have been trapped in the country since April, Ahmed said, along with his 2-year-old daughter who has a British passport.

The UK was able to evacuate around 2,450 people on three flights laid on by the government and with the help of friendly countries after fighting broke out earlier this year between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

With only a small window of time to travel, and instability and violence engulfing the country, Ahmed’s family, like many others, were too far from the evacuation point near Khartoum to reach the flights, so remained in place.

Ahmed, 32, told The Guardian: “We need another evacuation flight for the many people in Sudan who have British nationality or who have the right to remain in the UK.

“I’m so worried about my children that I can’t sleep at night. When you call you can hear planes and shooting — you worry you’re not going to hear from them again.

“Sometimes you can’t get through because they have no electricity to charge their batteries or there’s no network.”

Ahmed, who was born in Sudan, was granted asylum in the UK in 2010 after the Sudanese government targeted his father for his dissident views.

“I’ve done a lot of work for this country, and tried to pay back the support I was given when I arrived as a refugee, but now I feel they do not want to help my British children,” he said. “The situation in Khartoum is very bad. There’s a shortage of food. It’s a tragedy there.”

Ahmed said he is aware of at least 50 families in Merseyside with Sudanese relatives trapped in the North African country whose applications for them to travel to the UK have not yet been approved.

Maddy Crowther from the Waging Peace organization, established to help Sudanese refugees and asylum-seekers, told The Guardian: “A lot of people are very critical of the UK for not realising the urgency of the situation. Family reunion cases need to be expedited while people are in this really difficult situation. There needs to be a more compassionate approach.”

She said Ahmed’s case was not an isolated one, adding: “It’s crucial that he is helped to get his children out. It’s an unliveable, catastrophic situation, with dwindling food and water supplies; telecommunications and banking are frequently down.”

Andrew Mitchell, a former government minister, said about 800 British children remain in Sudan, telling Parliament earlier this month: “We were able to assist an estimated 476 British children to leave Sudan and are aware of a further 300 children since confirmed as having safely left Sudan.”

The Home Office told The Guardian it could not comment on individual passport applications, but would be in touch with Ahmed.

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