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Over 30,000 Ethiopians flee to Sudan as internal armed clashes erupted

05:40 21 November 2020 Author :  

Thousands of Ethiopians -- including pregnant women, children without parents, and sick elderly -- are in "dire conditions" as the internal conflict in Ethiopia forced them to flee to Sudan, a human rights group said Friday.

"Many families arrived with nothing more than the clothes on their back. They are essentially arriving with nothing, to nothing," Will Carter, the country director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Sudan, said in a statement.

"People are sleeping out in the open. There are no tents, just blankets. There is some food, like porridge and water, but there are no toilets, showers or health services," he said.

The NRC cited UN figures which indicate that more than 30,000 people have fled Ethiopia to Sudan, where up to 5,000 people are crossing daily from Ethiopia since armed clashes erupted between the Ethiopian government and forces of the Tigray People's Liberation Front in the Tigray region earlier this month.

The NRC noted that it is currently working in eastern Sudan’s Um Raquba camp in Gedaref state.

"There are pregnant women in the camp, diabetics with no insulin, people living with HIV/AIDS with no medical care, and children without parents. It is a deeply traumatic and depressing time for many," Carter voiced.

Some of the fleeing people are arriving injured at Sudan's borders while many are highly distressed, as they have witnessed "harrowing stories about witnessing people being killed, forcing many to flee," Carter said.

"Refugees have told us that they are worried for their relatives in Tigray as they are unable to reach them because of the communication shutdown," he added.

"The needs in this current crisis are immense, yet resources even for the wider aid efforts in Sudan are incredibly stretched. Donors have the opportunity now to stand with the government of Sudan and the people of Ethiopia, and urgently release money and help save thousands of lives," he urged.

On Nov. 4, forces of the Tigray People's Liberation Front attacked the northern command in Tigray.

The Ethiopian army has since launched what has been described as law enforcement operations.

There is, however, no end in sight to the violence as humanitarian situations are reported to have deteriorated./aa

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