East Africa: ICRC Dramatically Increases Its Budget in Ethiopia and Sudan As Needs Grow At an Alarming Rate

Living conditions for Tigrayans who fled the border from Ethiopia into Sudan.
press release

Geneva/Addis-Ababa/Khartoum — The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is asking donors for an additional 28 million Swiss francs ($31.3 million) for its operations in Ethiopia and Sudan following violence that has forced tens of thousands of people from their homes, increasing the need for food, clean water and medical care.

The new appeal will bring ICRC's total budget for Ethiopia to 65 million Swiss francs ($72.7 million) and the total budget for Sudan to 36 million Swiss francs ($40.3 million). It is the ICRC's largest such appeal in four years.

"We haven't seen such an increase in the level of violence in this region for many years," said Patrick Youssef, the ICRC's head of operations for Africa. "The world's attention has been mostly on Tigray, but pockets of violence broke out in other parts of Ethiopia as well, while fighting also resurfaced in Darfur, causing more fear, more displacement and preventing people from meeting their vital needs.

"We are facing an unprecedented challenge, responding to several crises that unfold against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate shocks,"Mr Youssef said.

In Ethiopia's Tigray region, the presence of humanitarian actors increased in cities, but significant gaps remain in hard-to-reach rural areas. Access to food and primary healthcare are major humanitarian concerns. At the same time, humanitarian needs in other violence-affected areas like Oromia continue to grow.

In Sudan's Darfur region, the flare-up of violence forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. People can't grow food and access essential services. Meanwhile, the country is dealing with several displacement and refugee crises. Nearly 2 million Sudanese remain internally displaced, while the country is hosting more than a million refugees, including over 60,000 people who recently fled Ethiopia.

"The emergency response alone will not suffice in the situation we are now facing. The level of violence and destruction is such that we must be prepared to deal with the protracted consequences of these crises," Mr Youssef added. "Respect for civilian life and property, as well as for healthcare facilities and personnel, is the only way to limit the disastrous humanitarian impact of the ongoing violence."

The ICRC stepped up its response in Ethiopia and Sudan to cover urgent humanitarian needs, providing emergency relief and preparing for long-term interventions. Additional funding will enable it to expand its programs in Tigray, Oromia and other violence-affected areas of Ethiopia, working alongside the Ethiopian Red Cross. Reaching rural areas of Tigray, reinforcing health services, and increasing support for victims of sexual violence are among the main priorities.

In Sudan, the ICRC will expand its activities and support the Sudanese Red Crescent to respond to the increasing humanitarian needs in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan. It will focus on delivering assistance to people affected by violence, reinforcing primary health care and physical rehabilitation services.

ICRC in Ethiopia:

Supporting health centers in Zalambesa and Altitenna and hospitals in Shire and Sheraro;

Providing almost 200,000 liters of drinking water daily to more than 22,000 displaced people and host communities in Mekele, Axum and Shire;

Distributed seeds, tools and fertilizer to more than 35,000 families in Somali, Oromia and Tigray Regions.

ICRC in Sudan:

Expanding operations to Kassala state and supporting the Kassala teaching hospital's emergency room;

Helping Ethiopian refugees reestablish contact with families and supporting health centers for around 60,000 Ethiopian refugees in 8 camps;

Distributed essential household items to around 90,000 people affected by violence in Darfur.

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