War broke out on January 18 in the town of Tango, reportedly between unknown armed groups and nationwide forces and, the nearby camp hosting 10,300 refugees was looted and burned.
According to the UNHCR spokesperson ‘Boris Cheshirkov’, “All humanitarian staff had to vacate and access the area, including the two camps, Tongo and Gure-Shembola, stay impossible.”
Since last December 2021, the situation has been critical in the Benishangul Gumuz nation, which hosts over 70,000 Sudanese and South Sudanese refugees and over 500,000 internally expelled Ethiopians.
The 20,000 people who were forced to leave their places made their way over long distances to three sites closer to the regional capital, Assosa, reaching exhausted and in need of help.
UNHCR is operating with the Government of Ethiopia and Returnees Service and partners to provide the most critical help to the expelled refugees, including hot meals, clean water and all medical care facility, said Mr Cheshirkov.
Benishangul Gumuz regional government have shown solidarity in which they recognised a new provisional site to accommodate up to 20,000 incoming refugees.
UNHCR is working hard to establish some basic services such as shelter, clean water, water points, and toilets and start resettling displaced refugees to the site as soon as possible,” said UN official.
Furthermore, Mr Cheshirkov added that the UNHCR has also recorded the coming of 70 Sudanese refugees, most significantly women and children, who fled the camps and returned to Sudan’s Blue Nile State.
At the same time, UNHCR teams of Sudan and Sudanese government and Partners are providing help to the returnees and contingencies are being put in place in case of more arrivals.
The three other refugee camps are in Bambasi, Sherkole and Tsore, with full access and essential services like food and accommodation.
To avoid other hazards to the lives of civilians in the nation, the UNHCR spokesperson highlighted the need for an end to the fighting.
UNHCR requested civilians to protect civilians, including refugees and those who were forcibly displaced.