Sudan: Over 36,000 Ethiopian Refugees Arrive in Sudan

Insecurity in the Tigray region of Ethiopia is driving people into Hamdayet in Sudan.

Kassala / El Gedaref — The Minister of Interior, Lt Gen El Tereifi Idris announced that the number of Ethiopian refugees in eastern Sudan has risen to 36,000, during the Sudanese government's cabinet meeting yesterday.

He expects an increase in the flow of refugee numbers, noting the importance of the international community's role in providing aid and shelter, and the challenges facing Sudanese authorities.

Women, men and children have been crossing the border at the rate of 4,000 per day since 10 November, rapidly overwhelming the humanitarian response capacity on the ground, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The representative of Kassala refugee housing, Yagub Mohamed Yagub, explained that the average daily entry for refugees ranges between 550 to 600 persons. He said that the number of currently registered refugees in Kassala has reached 16,605.

Following a visit to the Hamdayat border crossing, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Idris Ali Mohamed, affirmed that "the commission will endeavour to coordinate with all voluntary and humanitarian organizations to meet the needs of the refugees."

The UNHCR and its partners are supporting the Sudanese government with humanitarian assistance at the borders, where the number of refugees coming across the border has already surpassed agency preparations.

"Together with all the agencies, we built a response plan for about 20,000 people," Axel Bisschop told the UNHCR Geneva press briefing today. "The new planning figure is around 200,000."

Yesterday, the EU announced the provision of funding of four million euros in emergency aid to assist Ethiopian refugees arriving in Sudan. According to the statement, the funding will support NGOs and UN agencies in the states of Kassala and El Gedaref, which are most heavily affected by new arrivals.

Refugees will receive basic essentials such as shelter, access to food and health care, sanitation and hygiene, and protection.

Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for EU Crisis Management said: "There is a real humanitarian crisis being created by the unfolding conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region. With this initial funding, we will help Ethiopian refugees who have had to leave their homes. The solution, however, lies in the cessation of hostilities. We urge parties to the conflict in Ethiopia to allow full and unrestricted access for humanitarian workers to all areas affected by fighting. Civilians are paying the price for this conflict - they must be protected and International Humanitarian Law observed. I praise Sudan's readiness to offer refuge to Ethiopians fleeing the conflict."

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