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Sudan Situation Update #1: Refugee response in Sudan on alert following developments in Ethiopia (6 November 2020)

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The Government Commission for Refugees (COR) and UNHCR in Sudan have recorded the arrival of 30 Somali asylum-seekers at Hamadayet border entry point in East Sudan from Ethiopia, after military confrontations in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia led the Government to declare it in a State of Emergency on Thursday.

“UNHCR is concerned about recent events and working closely with the Sudanese Commissioner for Refugees and partners to stay ahead of the situation,” says Representative Axel Bisschop, noting that UNHCR in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti are also coordinating a regional response to the situation.

Yesterday, the Governor of Kassala announced the closure of borders between the State and Ethiopia until further notice, due to the security situation. He added, a committee will be created to assess the situation and administrate the potential arrivals of civilian refugees through humanitarian corridors.

In Eastern Sudan, UNHCR’s teams in Kassala and Girba are working with the Sudanese Commissioner for Refugees, local authorities and partners to gather additional information on any movement into Sudan. Today, 6 November, UNHCR are undertaking a monitoring mission in the border areas. UNHCR Khartoum is fielding an emergency preparedness mission to Kassala to support with preparedness planning and actions. We are working with the Government to ensure the refugees a safe and free passage.

UNHCR and COR will work with partners to update the existing inter-agency contingency plan for refugee influxes from Ethiopia. The plan will support authorities, partners and relevant communities with delivering humanitarian services and protection. To this end, the Refugee Consultation Forum (RCF) will convene on Sunday 8 November to kick-start preparedness planning. UNHCR will call on all operational partners to pledge existing operational resources for a possible scaled response, in case this is required.

This year, as of 30th of September, UNHCR has recorded 3,159 new arrivals of refugees in East Sudan, with 28 new arrivals from Ethiopia in 2020.

For more information, please contact:

Corina Iovescu
External Relations Officer, UNHCR Office in Khartoum
iovescu@unhcr.org

Sophia Jessen
Associate External Relations Officer, UNHCR in Khartoum
sudkhextrel@unhcr.org