• With access to refugee and displaced population constrained both in Ethiopia and Sudan, the United Nations has called for unimpeded humanitarian access.
• More than 60,000 people have fled into Sudan from Ethiopia. New arrivals said that they have walked 10 to 15 days to reach the border.
• In Ethiopia, International Medical Corps has reached more than 500 people with services through our mobile health and nutrition clinics.
• In Sudan, International Medical Corps is responding in Kassala state to reduce the risk of COVID-19 among the refugee population, and is planning an integrated health and nutrition response in the newly established Tunaydbah camp.
Since November 4, the Tigray region of Ethiopia has been shaken by a military confrontation between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF). Despite an announcement of the end of the military operations in late November, the region continues to witness armed clashes and insecurity, which is hampering humanitarian access in the region. Though humanitarian partners have been able to move limited supplies into the region, access to certain areas remains difficult. After visiting the MaiAyni camp for Eritrean refugees in southern Tigray on January 30, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees issued a statement1 expressing his concerns at the “grave” situation faced by refugees in the camps, where severe human rights violations have been registered. The humanitarian situation in Tigray continues to deteriorate.
In Sudan, more than 61,000 refugees have been registered at the crossing points along the Sudan–Ethiopia border. Currently, refugees continue to arrive through the Hamdayet transit center; according to UN reports2, some of the new arrivals have reported severe violations of human rights that occurred during their journey to the Sudanese border. UNHCR and the Sudanese government initially located refugees in the Um Rakuba camp from the border points and transit centers, but the camp has reached its full capacity, and relocations currently are taking place for the purpose of family reunification only.
Though discussions about the extension of the Um Rakuba camp are ongoing, in early January UNHCR began relocations of around 13,000 refugees to the newly established Tunaydbah camp, while 25,000 others will be relocated soon. UNHCR and its humanitarian partners are setting up services in the Tunaydbah camp and continue to expand lifesaving activities while providing core education and protection services to the refugee population. Gaps in the delivery of assistance still remain across all sectors of intervention; all partners are working to address them and expand humanitarian assistance to the population in need.