New Camp for Ethiopian Refugees

Geneva, Jan 5 (AFP/APP): The United Nations said Tuesday it had begun moving some of the more than 56,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan to a newly-opened camp, with the existing facility nearly full.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, said tents to shelter up to 5,000 people have so far been set up at the new Tunaydbah camp. More were to be pitched in the coming days. Since Sunday, 580 refugees have been transferred to the camp and given a hot meal on arrival, a UNHCR spokesman told reporters in Geneva.

Refugees are continuing to flee the unrest in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, with 800 having crossed the border with eastern Sudan since the New Year. “Latest arrivals tell of being caught in the conflict and being victims of various armed groups, facing perilous situations including looting of their houses, forceful recruitment of men and boys, and sexual violence against women and girls,” said spokesman Andrej Mahecic.

“Refugees are arriving with little more than the clothes on their backs, fatigued and in weak conditions after sometimes days of travel.” He said more than 30 percent of the refugees were estimated to be aged under 18, while five percent were over 60.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered troops into Tigray on November 4 following alleged attacks by Tigray People’s Liberation Front forces on federal military camps there.

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