Refugees from Tigray Region continue to flock to neighboring Sudan – UNHCR

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, continues to register new refugee arrivals at the Sudanese-Ethiopian border. Some 800 people crossed from Ethiopia’s Tigray region into eastern Sudan in just the first few days of the new year. Since early November, more than 56,000 Ethiopian refugees have fled to neighboring Sudan.

Latest arrivals tell of being caught in the conflict and being victims of various armed groups, facing perilous situations including looting of their houses, forceful recruitment of men and boys, sexual violence against women and girls.

“Refugees are arriving with little more than the clothes on their backs, fatigued and in weak conditions after sometimes days of travel. More than 30 percent of them are estimated to be under 18 and 5 percent over 60 years old,” UNHCR said in a statement.

In support of the government-led response in Sudan, UNHCR and Sudan’s Commission for Refugees (COR) continue to relocate the refugees from the arrival locations at the border to the designated refugee camps, further inland in Sudan’s Gedaref State.

With the UN Rakuba refugee camp approaching its full capacity, UNHCR and its partners are striving to swiftly relocate refugees from reception sites at the border to a second, newly opened refugee camp, Tunaydbah, in order to keep refugees safe and offer them better-living conditions.

The new site is located some 136 kilometers from Gedaref town. Since this Sunday, 580 refugees were relocated to Tunaydbah from Village eight reception site, with relocation from Hamdayet reception site set to start also this week. Both reception sites are overcrowded, and their close location to the border putting the safety and security of refugees increasingly at risk.

As of the end of 2020, US$40 million has been pledged to UNHCR for the regional response to the emergency in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, which covers only 37 percent of the financial requirements in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.