The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, on Tuesday revealed that close to 46,000 Ethiopian nationals fled to neighboring Sudan amid the weeks-long fighting between the Ethiopian federal government and an insurgent northern Tigray regional government.
“In Sudan, Ethiopian refugees continue to arrive in the hundreds. Nearly 46,000 have now arrived since the start of November,” said a statement from the UN refugee agency, which quoted UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch.
The Ethiopian government had over the weekend announced the “full command” of the Tigray regional state capital, Mekelle, which marked the completion of the military operations.
Nothing that more than 2,500 were registered since Friday alone, the UNHCR reiterated the joint UN call that it is urgent for all parties to enable the free and safe movement of affected people in search of safety and assistance, including across international and within national borders.”We call for the right to seek asylum to be fully respected,” the statement read.
The UNHCR with its partners had launched a humanitarian response plan over the weekend that envisaged assisting the growing number of refugees in eastern Sudan.
The plan brings together 30 humanitarian partners working together with the government to provide urgent life-saving assistance including shelter, water and food at a cost of 147 million U.S. dollars.
The financial requirement is said to meet the needs of up to 100,000 refugees for the next six months, it was noted.
Meanwhile, the UNHCR is also appealing to the federal authorities in Ethiopia for urgent access in order to reach Eritrean refugees in the Tigray region who are “in desperate need of humanitarian assistance and services.”
Nothing that “concerns are growing by the hour,” the UNHCR also said that the refugee camps “will have now run out of food supplies — making hunger and malnutrition a real danger, a warning we have been issuing since the conflict began nearly a month ago.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said “we now have ahead of us the critical task of rebuilding what has been destroyed, repairing what is damaged, returning those who have fled, with an utmost priority of returning normalcy to the people of the Tigray region.”