Commander of British Forces Cyprus and Sovereign Base Areas Administrator, Air Vice Marshal Peter Squires, paid tribute to the personnel involved in the successful evacuation of people from Sudan via Cyprus.
Since the conflict began in the north-east African country on April 15, more than 2,400 people from the UK and over 20 other nations including Cyprus, have been evacuated to safety, with a final RAF flight landing at Larnaca Airport on May 4.
The Bases, working alongside the British High Commission and the Republic of Cyprus, worked to ensure that the mass evacuation was a success with RAF flights departing Akrotiri for Sudan before returning with evacuees to Larnaca International Airport.
Speaking shortly after the final flight landed in Larnaca Air Vice Marshal Squires said: “As the UK’s operation to bring people to safety from Sudan draws down, I want to thank everyone involved, including military and civilian personnel, the families that support them, and of course our friends and partners in the Republic of Cyprus, for what has been an incredibly busy period for so many of us.
“We supported the Republic of Cyprus and the British High Commission in delivery of ‘Plan ESTIA’ – setting up Larnaca Airport to receive evacuees from multiple nations – supporting their welfare and onward movement.
“Our support has, to date, helped the UK bring over 2,400 people to safety, from over 20 nations including our Cypriot friends. It has been a monumental effort involving every part of our organisation to some degree. The operation has epitomised collaborative working: between branches, units, Services, departments and nations.”
According to an SBA press release, UK-based personnel were quickly deployed to BFC – which would be used as a Forward Mounting Base for flights heading to Sudan – to augment those already on the island.
During the operation, BFC supported over 1,500 additional military personnel, providing everything from accommodation and food to military equipment.
RAF Akrotiri also facilitated over 165 additional flights and received the very first diplomatic evacuees.
Total of 2,350 foreign nationals evacuated from Sudan through Cyprus