Eritrean refugees in Tigray “not in immediate danger” from fighting – but situation critical

Aid workers operating in Tigray say that refugees and displaced people are not in immediate danger from the current fighting.

But there is deep concern about maintaining sufficient supplies to the many thousands in need, now that communications with Addis Ababa are cut, flights banned and road haulage interrupted.

UNHCR TIGRAY SEPT 2020

The scale of the problem is immense.

With in excess of 96,000 Eritreans living in camps and being cared for in local communities it is vital that the aid pipeline is maintained. Displaced people also need to be supplied.

These areas require urgent attention:

  • Gaining access to Tigray now that flights and road transport has ended is impossible,
  • Cutting telecommunications with Tigray has made communications very difficult, so that even getting updated information is difficult,
  • The closure of the border with Sudan has made it very difficult to move into Sudan. Eritreans who crossed into Ethiopia are now trapped in limbo by the closure and the fighting,
  • The banking sector in Tigray has been closed and transferring money to buy supplies in local markets is now a real problem.

If the fighting should spread into the areas in which most of the refugees are currently housed their plight will become severe. The agencies are keeping a careful watch on the situation as it unfolds.

 

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