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Pinoy Abroad

DMW hopes UN will establish safe zones for Sudan evacuees

WASHINGTON — Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Susan "Toots" Ople is hoping that the United Nations will step up and establish safe zones amid evacuation of individuals due to the situation in Sudan.

Ople was asked by reporters when the repatriation of Filipinos from Sudan will be finished. She said a lot of Filipinos have already been repatriated while others want to stay.

"But may iba na they want to stay on. ‘Yung iba nagbabakasakali pa rin na huhupa ‘yung gulo [Some are hoping that the tension there would die down]," Ople said in a briefing. 

"Of course, hindi naman natin mapilit sila ano if that is their personal decision. But if they would ask our advice, the best way really or the best time for them to leave is now. And we also welcome news that the United Nations will be stepping in soon," she added.

Ople expressed hope that the UN would step in and establish humanitarian corridors to ensure the safety of the affected Filipinos.

"Ang panawagan natin, based doon sa nakita ko, based sa mga conversations ko with the evacuees from the civil war ‘no, mga kababayan natin. [My call is based from what I saw, based on conversations with the evacuees.] There really needs to be humanitarian corridors and safe zones para ‘yung mga gustong makaalis puwedeng umalis and then ‘yung mga gusto naman maiwan may access pa rin sa pagkain, sa gamot, sa tubig and other basic essentials," he said.

"So we do hope that the UN will step in and establish these humanitarian corridors and safe zones as soon as possible," Ople said.

The UN expressed hope that it would have face-to-face meetings with Sudan's warring parties within two to three days to secure public guarantees from them for the safe passage of humanitarian assistance.

Earlier, the Department of Foreign Affairs said there were 100 Filipinos who refused to leave and asked to move to another area there.

Reports said about one third of Sudan's population of 46 million was already in need of humanitarian assistance before the current conflict began.

The fighting has displaced hundreds of thousands internally, mainly from Darfur in western Sudan, and more than 100,000 have fled across Sudan's borders. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News