“The announcement that we will finally be given access to conflict zones in Tigray is a welcome development for all humanitarians operating in the region. This must mean access everywhere, including to internally displaced people and Eritrean refugees living in Tigray’s camps,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), who is currently visiting refugees at Um Rakuba camp in Sudan, close to the Ethiopian border.
“Aid convoys are on standby; ready to move into Tigray and support families in need. Supplies are needed immediately as there is an acute shortage of food, medicine and other relief. We also need more humanitarian workers to support the staff we have on the ground, some of whom have had to flee themselves. We are ready to go today,” said Egeland.
Up to 100,000 refugees are projected to arrive to Sudan in the next five months because of the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. According to international law, people fleeing violence must be allowed to move to areas of safety and security, including to neighbouring countries like Sudan, where they can access the assistance they need to survive.
Close to 10,000 people have already transited to Um Rakuba refugee camp, 70 kilometers south-west of the main border crossing point from Tigray into Sudan, where NRC is on the ground assisting. The camp reached full capacity late last week. Despite this, refugees continue to arrive hungry, thirsty and in need of shelter.
Thousands of newly-arrived Ethiopian refugees have remained close to the border in the hope of crossing back into Tigray for the harvest or to recover some of their assets or belongings. Many refugees have told NRC staff that they want to stay close to the border crossing to wait for family members or relatives that are still in Tigray.
“I am just a student. When the violence broke out I ran for my life, and left my mother and sister behind. I am too scared to go back to Tigray,” said Younas, an Ethiopian refugee sheltering in Sudan.
Sudan already hosts over three million displaced people, all while facing an economic crisis.
“Sudan has its own complex humanitarian crisis for decades, owing to drought, disease and an ever-worsening economic crisis. The humanitarian system only received half of the money it required to assist six million people this year, and the number of people in need in Sudan is set to increase. We must rally around civilians in Ethiopia and refugees in Sudan now, before needs spiral out of control,” said Egeland.
Facts and figures:
Close to 10 million people are estimated to be food insecure in Sudan.
Sudan hosts over one million refugees majorly from South Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as 2.5 million internally displaced people.
In 2020, Sudan’s humanitarian response requires US$1.6 billion to provide lifesaving assistance to over 6 million people. Only half has been funded.
860,000 people have been affected by severe floods in all 18 states of Sudan.
For more information or interviews please contact:
In Oslo: Michelle Delaney, NRC´s Media Adviser to the Secretary General, on firstname.lastname@example.org, and +47 941 65579. NRC’s global media hotline on +47 905 623 29, email@example.com.