Over 43,000 Ethiopians flee into Sudan amid ongoing clashes: UNHCR


ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, on Friday disclosed that more than 43,000 Ethiopians fled to neighboring Sudan amid the ongoing fighting between the Ethiopian federal government and an insurgent Northern Tigray regional government.

A statement from the UN refugee agency, which quoted UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch, revealed that "since the start of fighting in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region in early November, more than 43,000 refugees have crossed into Sudan seeking protection and shelter."

Baloch also emphasized the magnitude of the influx of Ethiopians to Sudan, noting that "even before this influx, the country was hosting nearly one million refugees, mainly from South Sudan."

Since the early hours of Nov. 4, the Ethiopian government has been undertaking military operations against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which rules over Ethiopia's northernmost Tigray regional state.

The federal government's operation followed the TPLF's attack on the Northern command base of the Ethiopian Defense Force, a division stationed in the region for over two decades and based in Mekelle city, capital of Tigray region.

Prior to the military operations, the Ethiopian government has been blaming the TPLF, which was one of the four coalition fronts of Ethiopia's former ruling party the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), for masterminding various treasonous acts across different parts of the country with an overarching goal of destabilizing the country.

Meanwhile, amid the ongoing clashes between the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and forces loyal to the TPLF, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, is visiting Khartoum, the capital of Sudan as the African country receives a growing number of refugees from Ethiopia.

"Grandi will review UNHCR operations in support of the government-led response to the latest influx. He is also scheduled to meet with refugees," the UNHCR statement issued on Friday read.

In eastern Sudan, UN Refugee Agency continued to ramp up its relief effort together with Sudan's Commission on Refugees and local authorities amidst complex logistical challenges.

According to UNHCR, aid is being mobilized to help refugees almost half of whom are children. Humanitarian agencies continue to provide shelter and other facilities to help refugees.

It, however, emphasized that "more resources are required and Sudan needs international support urgently."

The UN Refugee Agency has helped relocate nearly 10,000 refugees to the Um-Rakuba site, 70-km further from the border inside Sudan, as work continues to put up shelters and improve services.

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