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UNHCR: Over 47,000 Ethiopian refugee arrivals in eastern Sudan

December 4 - 2020 KASSALA / EL GEDAREF / BLUE NILE
Ethiopian refugees line up for food (social media)
Ethiopian refugees line up for food (social media)

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported this morning that it has registered over 47,000 new Ethiopian refugee arrivals in Kassala, El Gedaref, and Blue Nile states.

Over 1,000 refugees arrived yesterday in eastern Sudan from the Tigray region in Ethiopia, according to the agency. Sources told Radio Dabanga that over 1,000 Ethiopian refugees crossed the border on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This indicates a decrease in the influx of refugees across the Sudanese border, who have been arriving at the rate of 4,000 a day since 10 November, rapidly overwhelming the humanitarian response capacity on the ground, according to the UNHCR.

The UNHCR announced today that it “stands ready to resume its full humanitarian activities in the Tigray region as soon as the situation allows, following an agreement to restore access.”

EU visit

The European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, and the Governor of El Gedaref, Suleiman Ali, visited Um Rakouba camp in East El Galabat yesterday to examine the humanitarian conditions of the camp.

The European official expressed his appreciation of the Sudanese government for hosting and sheltering Ethiopian refugees in El Gedaref, highlighting that the European Union is providing a package of humanitarian aid in cooperation with United Nations agencies and organizations to improve the standard of living in the camp.

The governor of El Gedaref called for more support and provision of shelter and food for refugees in addition to health services. He said “the influx of the large numbers of refugees affects the quality of services provided to Sudanese people, which is already suffering from the dire economic situation in the country.”

Diplomatic meeting

Diplomats and Sudanese experts emphasised the importance of the international community in a symposium held at the Diplomatic Club in Khartoum on Wednesday. According to a statement, the international community must fully assume its responsibilities towards the crisis and contain any humanitarian, economic, and security repercussions including unregulated migration and human trafficking.

They called for the need for “tight coordination” between international organisations, national institutions, and civil society in dealing with the crisis and minimising its effects on Sudan and the region.

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has asked the UNHCR for technical and programmatic assistance to deal with the influx of Ethiopian refugees. He and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi agreed to organise an international conference on refugee issues to be hosted by Khartoum at the beginning of next year.


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