More than 60,500 Ethiopian refugees have crossed into Sudan following the recent conflict in Ethiopia’s northernmost Tigray regional state, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) disclosed on Tuesday.
According to figures from the UNHCR, some 20,572 Ethiopian refugees have been relocated to Um Rakuba camp, and 13,371 refugees to Tunaydbah settlement in Sudan.
On Monday, the United Nations had indicated “first step” towards progress in Tigray emergency assistance.
“This clearance is a first step towards ensuring that aid workers in Tigray can deliver and ramp up the response given the rapidly rising needs in the region,” Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told journalists at the daily press briefing on Monday.
He recalled a number of positive engagements between the government and senior UN officials, including with Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner for Refugees, Gilles Michaud, chief of UN Safety and Security and most recently, David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP).
“Beasley has just wrapped up a trip to Ethiopia, and he says that WFP has accepted the government’s request to help authorities and aid partners transport aid into and within Tigray,” Dujarric said.
Moreover, the WFP has also agreed to provide emergency food aid for up to one million people in Tigray, it was noted.
The conflict between the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which used to rule the Tigray region, began in early November, when the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, ordered a military offensive after the TPLF attacked a federal army base.
Government forces reported that the region had been secured at the end of November, but TPLF resistance has continued amid accusations of extrajudicial killings and rights abuses.
Meanwhile, around 60 more humanitarian workers from the UN and non-governmental organizations are awaiting approval in the capital Addis Ababa for deployment to Tigray, according to the United Nations. Enditem