Addis Ababa — IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, UNHCR High Commissioner António Guterres and Ethiopia's Deputy Director for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), Ayalew Awoke, on Monday visited the newly opened Bambasi refugee camp in Benshangul Gumuz region, where thousands of Sudanese refugees are being sheltered.
The Director General and the High Commissioner urged the international community to extend its support to the thousands of Sudanese refugees who are forced to cross borders to Ethiopia due continued fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) in Sudan's Blue Nile State.
"We are very pleased that Ethiopia has kept the border open. But this situation is serious and requires the continued attention of the international community," said Ambassador Swing.
Since fighting between Sudanese armed forces and the SPLA-N, broke out last year Sudanese refugees have been crossing into Ethiopia at an average rate of 200 to 300 a day, according to IOM.
Currently Ethiopia hosts over 35,000 Sudanese refugees who fled conflict in Blue Nile state.
UNHCR High Commissioner Guterres' on his side made a similar appeal asking for more support to assist the Sudanese refugees with basic services.
He stressed that the humanitarian community needs more international help "to engage much more resolutely."
Located in Ethiopia's south west, Bambasi camp is the third camp established in Benshangul Gumz region bordering Sudan. Since mid June the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been relocating hundreds of Sudanese refugees from the Al Damazin Transit Center to this lately opened camp.
IOM was forced to relocate the refugees after the Al Damazine Transit Center reached maximum capacity of more than 14,000 refugees as of June 2012.
UNHCR representative in Ethiopia, Kisut Gebregzabhir, recently told Sudan Tribune that the Sudanese refugees are fleeing violence in Blue Nile State and new arrivals claim to have been attacked by unknown people and their fields being burnt.
According to Gebregzabhir, Ethiopia has seen high influx in April and May; however, June has relatively seen a decline.
IOM said that in addition to providing transport to relocate the refugees, the organization is seeking funds to build 1,500 shelters at the Bambasi refugee camp. UNHCR will cover part of the funding.
Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) which is an implementing partner of IOM and the UNHCR has been collaborating with the international Aid groups in providing basic assistance and in assisting emergency transport and pre-departure medical checks.