As fighting erupted in Tigray in the northern part of Ethiopia, thousands of people fled the country. Some of the uprooted people seek refuge in other parts of Ethiopia, but many of them turn to neighboring Sudan. Thousands of Ethiopians have crossed the border into the eastern Sudanese states of Kassala and Gedaref. The ZOA-team in Sudan is there to support the refugees. But there is already a shortage of shelter, food, water, non-food items and medical care. As of 22 November, more than 38,000 people have arrived in Sudan and many more are expected.
The ZOA team in Sudan has been present in Gedaref, one of the key states receiving and hosting the refugees, since 2010. It has enabled ZOA to provide timely support to the refugees. So far ZOA Sudan has distributed essential relief supplies and is also in the process of scaling up its response to provide much needed water infrastructure, sanitation solutions and shelter to the people who make their way to the established refugee camp.
ZOA continues to monitor the situation closely and will adjust its response accordingly to ensure that these refugees can be assisted as quickly and efficiently as possible. “The fact that people are fleeing to the much poorer Sudan shows how urgent the need in Ethiopia is,” says René Vlug, head of Fundraising & Communication and until last year country director of ZOA in Ethiopia. “These fights and the additional flows of refugees are a huge blow to a region where so many people are already displaced.”
ZOA has been active in the wider region for years, both in Ethiopia and Sudan. In Tigray, we run a large programme to assistant both Eritrean refugees and vulnerable young people. We are also present in other parts of Ethiopia where people seek safety. Due to our presence in the region and the experience with the reception of various refugee groups, we can quickly help the victims of this violence. As the response is ongoing in Sudan, the ZOA-team in Ethiopia is scaling up its efforts to assist the many people currently suffering in the region.
Click here to read more about the programme in Sudan.