IRC Works With Sudanese Authorities to Expand Aid Delivery to Ethiopian Refugees

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The International Rescue Committee says it will help Sudanese authorities roll out emergency services in the Um Rakuba and Tenetba camps, where thousands of Ethiopians are seeking refuge after fleeing conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

More than 60,000 people have crossed the border from Ethiopia into eastern Sudan since the start of the Tigray conflict in early November, the IRC said in a statement Wednesday.  

The IRC said almost half of the refugees are children, many of whom lost contact with their relatives as they fled the conflict.   

In the newly built Tenetba camp, where about 265 tents have been erected, some 20,000 refugees will be relocated to reduce overcrowding in Um Rakuba, the IRC said. 

Ethiopians who fled the Tigray conflict buy supplies at a market near the Um Rakuba refugee camp in Sudan’s eastern Gedaref state, Jan. 6, 2021.

“The needs are extremely high and the logistics of transferring refugees to the camps because of the distance from the border plus inadequate provisions have slowed delivery of aid to those in need,” said Carolyne Kanaiza, the IRC east Sudan emergency response director. 

In order to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 or any other diseases at the camps, Kanaiza said the IRC will construct “105 emergency latrines and 92 shared bathing spaces with proper waste management systems.” 

In order to protect women, girls and children who are disproportionately affected by wars and disasters, the IRC says it has also begun a program to prevent abuse and exploitation. 

“We have been engaging with female refugees to identify needs and will be providing women protection services that include psychological support and gender-based violence services,” said Kanaiza. 

The aid provider will also distribute “hygiene kits and menstrual management kits” for women and girls at the camps.

Fighting between Ethiopian federal forces and a rebellious force in the northern Tigray region has killed thousands of people and displaced around 950,000. Many say it is not safe to return to their homes despite Ethiopian government assurances that fighting is over.     

Many international and local organizations are assisting the refugees with basic needs like food and water. 

The IRC has called for a cease-fire to ensure aid and life-saving services reach those affected by the conflict.   


 

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