Dr. Tedros Adhanom on Friday (July 11) met Mrs. Anne Richards, Assistant Secretary for the US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. Discussions covered the current humanitarian crises in the region of the Horn of Africa, with particular reference to the condition of the huge numbers of refugees that have crossed and are crossing from South Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia to Ethiopia.
The Assistant Secretary briefed Dr. Tedros on her recent visit to refugee camps in the Gambela Regional State of Ethiopia. She praised Ethiopia's efforts to host refugees crossing from South Sudan as unique and hoped it would continue the practice. The Assistant Secretary raised questions over the supply of doctors and medicines to the camps, their infrastructure and the tribal balance and indicated these, the movement of Eritrean refugees out of camps and financing were concerns which should be considered seriously.
Dr. Tedros explained Ethiopia's efforts to safely host the refugees and the extent to which it went, providing scholarships to Ethiopian universities and technical colleges. He emphasized the importance of donor financing to assist the efforts of Ethiopia in helping the refugees. This could not be covered by any one country and multiple donors needed to be engaged. Dr. Tedros also emphasized two major concerns of Ethiopia which, he said, needed to be dealt with quickly: the recruitment of fighters from the camps and possible outbreaks of disease now the rainy season had started. He thanked the US for its role in supporting peace in South Sudan and in financing the refugee operation in the region.