A Scottish diplomat has told how he was forced to join the UK government’s evacuation of Britons fleeing war-torn Sudan while attending his best friend’s wedding.
Glasgow-born Fraser McDougall was part of the UK government’s operation to rescue more than 2,450 people – the longest and largest evacuation of any Western country.
The 28-year-old works for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and was sent to the Sudanese capital Khartoum in April with the UK government’s rapid deployment team.
The aim was to help British nationals fleeing the violence, which has now killed more than 800 people.
Fraser got his call to deploy minutes before delivering his best man of honor speech at his best friend’s wedding.
He said: “I wasn’t really on duty but as it was such a big crisis they needed everyone on deck so I was asked if I could deploy to the Sudan So it wasn’t just my best buddy who said ‘yes’ on the day.
“The call came about 10 minutes before I was due to give my speech. This slightly hampered my ability to party as hard as my wife and I had hoped, as I now had to catch the first flight the next day. Morning.”
Mr McDougall said he was proud to have been part of the rescue mission.
“Much of the diplomatic work we do is long-term and strategic, but it’s something that has immediate tangible results that save lives – helping people escape from a war zone,” he said. he declared.
It is estimated that more than 1.3 million people have fled Sudan.
The UK government has provided more than £250million in humanitarian aid to Sudan over the past five years and has just committed an additional £5million in aid to help people displaced from their homes by violence.
UK Rapid Deployment Teams have been sent to Khartoum, Port Sudan, Cyprus and the Saudi city of Jeddah to assist UK nationals in need of assistance.
Mr McDougall swapped his tartan wedding clothes for a bulletproof vest as he joined his colleagues on the ground at Wadi Saeedna airfield near Khartoum.
He said: “It was almost like an out-of-body experience because the treatment work is relatively simple, but you have all this drama going on around you – babies collapsing, people coming in with gunshot wounds, people going through total trauma.”
The diplomat, whose day job is to work as a political secretary at the UK Embassy in Dublin, spent five days on the ground in Sudan.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “I am incredibly proud of the vital work people like Fraser are doing to help the most vulnerable in response to humanitarian crises around the world – often in very difficult circumstances.
“People across the UK have been at the heart of our efforts to help people fleeing Sudan in this hour of need, and I am grateful for their tireless service and dedication.”