'Full-scale' humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ethiopia - U.N.

By Emma Farge GENEVA (Reuters) - A major humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Ethiopia, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday, with more than 27,000 people now having fled heavy fighting to Sudan. The pace of the exodus, some 4,000 a day, may also indicate huge uprooting of people within the Tigray region, U.N

Reuters November 18, 2020 00:11:26 IST
'Full-scale' humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ethiopia - U.N.

Fullscale humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ethiopia  UN

By Emma Farge

GENEVA (Reuters) - A major humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Ethiopia, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday, with more than 27,000 people now having fled heavy fighting to Sudan.

The pace of the exodus, some 4,000 a day, may also indicate huge uprooting of people within the Tigray region, U.N. agencies said, adding that teams on the ground were overwhelmed.

"People are coming out of Ethiopia really scared, afraid, with stories saying they have been fleeing heavy fighting and there's no sign of the fighting stopping," Babar Baloch, spokesman of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a Geneva news briefing.

Ethiopia's prime minister warned on Tuesday that a deadline for rebel northern forces to lay down arms had expired, paving the way for a push on the Tigray region's capital in the two-week conflict destabilising the Horn of Africa.

Sudan already hosts nearly 1 million refugees including those who have fled conflict and poverty in Chad, Eritrea, Central African Republic and South Sudan.

"UNHCR is warning that a full-scale humanitarian crisis is unfolding as thousands of refugees flee ongoing fighting in Ethiopia's Tigray region each day to seek safety in eastern Sudan," Baloch said.

"UNHCR is on stand-by to provide assistance in Tigray when access and security allow," he added.

Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told the briefing: "There may be massive displacement inside Tigray and that is of course a concern and we try to prepare the best way possible."

Baloch also repeated concerns for tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees settled in Ethiopia, saying that clashes had occurred near to one of the settlements, but that poor communications were complicating aid efforts.

The creation of a humanitarian corridor is a priority, added OCHA's Laerke, saying negotiations were ongoing. "We are in continuous contact with the federal government and relevant regional authorities," he told the briefing.

A World Food Programme official said it was operating humanitarian flights daily to Kassala in eastern Sudan and can deploy helicopters to reach isolated groups. It had already delivered more than 1 tonne of food to a Sudanese site - enough to support 60,000 people for a month.

(Reporting by Emma Farge and Stephanie Nebehay; Writing by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

U.S. data suggest economic recovery may be weakening
Business

U.S. data suggest economic recovery may be weakening

By Howard Schneider WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The explosive surge in U.S. coronavirus cases this fall has left a question hanging: When will the economy take its own turn for the worse

Fed, ECB heads give COVID-19 vaccine cautious welcome
Business

Fed, ECB heads give COVID-19 vaccine cautious welcome

FRANKFURT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The heads of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank welcomed the encouraging results in trials of a vaccine candidate for the novel coronavirus but stressed that the economic outlook will remain uncertain. Fed chair Jay Powell and ECB President Christine Lagarde said the economy was still in for a tough time even if the development of a potential vaccine by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE was reason for some optimism further ahead

India's October fuel demand marks first year-on-year gain in 8 months
Business

India's October fuel demand marks first year-on-year gain in 8 months

By Sumita Layek (Reuters) - India's fuel consumption in October registered its first year-on-year increase since February, as slowing coronavirus cases and increased mobility accelerated an economic recovery, data showed on Thursday.