The number of Ethiopian refugees in eastern Sudan reduced following the verification exercise
The number of Ethiopian refugees sheltering in Gedaref, Kassala and Blue Nile states reduced by 25 per cent following the verification exercise completed at the end of May. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that by 31 May about 52,600 refugees from Ethiopia were verified. Gedaref and Kassala are hosting an estimated 45,150 refugees from Tigray and Blue Nile have about 7,400 refugees from the western Ethiopian region of Benishangul Gumuz. The previous estimate of Ethiopian refugees who arrived in eastern Sudan and Blue Nile was about 70,000 people.
In November 2020, UNHCR started recording an influx of Ethiopian refugees at the border entry points in eastern Sudan from northern Ethiopia, after military confrontations in the Tigray region.
UNHCR with the Sudanese Commissioner for Refugees (COR), local authorities and other partners in the refugee response continue to monitor and respond, providing life-saving assistance.
Similarly, Ethiopian asylum seekers have been crossing from the Benishangul-Gumuz region into Sudan’s Blue Nile State. UNHCR, COR and partners are also responding to their needs.
The number of refugees arriving per month has been steadily reducing and in May only 159 new arrivals were registered in Kassala and Geraref and another 162 new arrivals in Blue Nile states.
With the onset of the rainy season, extreme weather in late May and early June resulted in damage to several tents, shared latrines, and other facilities in the Um Rakuba and Tunaydbah camps in eastern Sudan. Heavy rains and strong winds during the first half of June damaged about 2,500 tents in Um Rakuba and 2,700 in Tunaydbah.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has completed a technical shelter assessment, based on which they are providing replacement tents. UNHCR is establishing seven evacuation centres. COR and partners are determining whether temporary shelters like rakubas – rectangular-shaped huts made of grass, millet stalks and wooden poles with thatched flat roofs – can be constructed during the rainy season. The construction of tukuls, which are more permanent shelters, is planned after the rainy season.
For more on Ethiopian refugee response please see Sudan Refugee Operational Portal