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A UN spokesman said Tuesday that more than 63,000 people have been recorded as “internally displaced” in Tigray, but the UN hopes to know the true number once the world body has more access.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told the regular press briefing that in Ethiopia, the UN continues to engage at the highest levels with the federal government to work out operational details “to guarantee humanitarian access.”

“We are also working to scale up humanitarian assistance in the Tigray region once access is re-established,” he said.

“In the meantime, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that arrangements are being made to deploy surge teams to different areas in Tigray, Afar and Amhara, and that supplies – including food, health, emergency shelter, and other items – are being continuously mobilized,” he added.

The spokesman said that in neighboring Sudan, UN humanitarian teams there have said that “there are still challenges to help the increasing number of refugees crossing the border.”

“Water, hygiene and sanitation services are extremely limited in all transit centers, as well as in Um Raquba settlement, to where over 16,000 refugees have now been relocated,” said the spokesman.

More than 50,000 people have now fled to Sudan since the beginning of the conflict in Tigray, which started in early November, Dujarric added.

The crisis erupted early last month during clashes between Tigray rebels and the federal government, cutting civilians from necessities, forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes and refugee camps running out of supplies.

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