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At least 3,000 more Ethiopian refugees arrive in Sudan

Ethiopian refugees receive emergency relief items at a site near the Ethiopia-Sudan border (Assadullah Nasrullah / UNHCR)
Ethiopian refugees receive emergency relief items at a site near the Ethiopia-Sudan border (Assadullah Nasrullah / UNHCR)

At least 3,000 Ethiopian refugees reportedly fled into Sudan this week, following the spread of the war in Ethiopia's Tigray to the neighbouring Amhara region.

According to the Sudanese authorities, thousands of Ethiopian refugees crossed the border last week. The majority of them fled from Amhara, bordering El Gedaref in Sudan, Washington-based VOA news reported on Wednesday.

El Fatih Mogadam, head of the El Gedaref Emergency Committee for the three refugee camps in the state, told VOA in a telephone interview that 1,058 new asylum seekers have been registered so far. 

Mogadam warned that it will be hard for the camps to absorb so many refugees, and he asked the Sudanese government and aid organisation to quickly intervene. 

In November last year, war erupted in Ethiopia’s Tigray between the federal government in Addis Ababa and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused Tigrayan troops of attacking federal military camps.

The war has caused a devastating humanitarian crisis, mostly in the northern region. According to the IOM Emergency Site Assessment (ESA) report of May, the conflict has displaced an estimated 1.9 million people in Tigray.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said in its Tigray Situation Update of yesterday that according to humanitarian aid agencies like the UN World Food Programme (WFP) more than five million people in Tigray are in urgent need of food aid. About 60,000 Ethiopians have fled to Sudan and are camping in eastern towns bordering Ethiopia,

Doctors Without Borders - Emergency response to the war in Tigray (MSF, June 2021)

Mid-July, Dabanga Sudan reported that the UNHCR needed an extra $33 million funding for its revised Sudan Refugee Influx from Ethiopia Response Plan, bringing the total cost of the plan until December this year to about $182 million.

As of July 1, more than 46,000 Ethiopian refugees from Tigray were registered in eastern Sudan. Blue Nile state hosted about 7,400 Ethiopian refugees who arrived from the Benishangul Gumuz region, fleeing ethnic conflict.

They not only have to make do with the basic conditions in the three El Gedaref based El Rakuba, El Tanideba, and (the much older) Hashaba refugee camps, but also with the changing weather conditions. At the start of the rainy season, storms in May and June destroyed almost all the tents in El Tanideba. The clinic of Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was also damaged.


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