Dubai/Rome — As a humanitarian crisis builds on the Ethiopia-Sudan border, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of US$4.5 million from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to provide life-saving food assistance to refugees fleeing escalating violence in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
The violence has triggered a massive wave of displacement, uprooting more than 100,000 civilians. More than 40,000 people from Tigray have already entered Sudan, mostly through Hamdayet and Lugdi crossing points. The flow of people is expected to continue unless there is a halt to the fighting.
"The United Arab Emirates attaches great importance to the refugee issue around the world," said His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC). "The UAE's initiatives contribute to strengthening international efforts to alleviate the suffering of refugees and improve their livelihoods and humanitarian conditions," His Highness added.
"Aligned with the UAE's humanitarian approach of rapid response and interaction with global crises, this support - provided through the World Food Programme - will help mitigate the severity of the humanitarian situation of the Ethiopian refugees in Sudan and ease their burdens," His Highness said.
WFP has been providing hot meals and high energy biscuits to refugees arriving at transit and reception centres after entering Sudan. At refugee camp sites, WFP is providing monthly family food rations and specialized nutritious foods for women and young children.
"Once again, the UAE is stepping up as an important first responder and an invaluable partner for WFP and the work we do," said David Beasley, WFP's Executive Director. "This contribution will enable WFP to gear up its response and help tens of thousands of Ethiopians seeking hopefully short-term refuge in neighbouring Sudan."
The WFP-managed United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), is expecting to start light aircraft services to Gadaref in Sudan to enhance service delivery to some of the camps.
WFP is deeply grateful to the government of Sudan for opening its borders to those fleeing the violence and for facilitating the humanitarian response on the ground.
Funding is urgently required to ensure adequate assistance for Ethiopian refugees and their host communities in Sudan in the months to come.
WFP is providing high energy biscuits to new arrivals in Sudan, food for cooked meals at reception centres and a monthly ration for refugees in camps. WFP needs US$ 24.6 million to support the influx of refugees for six months.