The IOM migration response center located near border town of Matama.

Thousands Cross Border to Ethiopia Fleeing Clashes in Sudan

The UN migration agency says citizens of more than 30 countries have crossed the border into Ethiopia to escape the deadly fighting in Sudan.

The refugees have begun to arrive in Ethiopia’s West Gonder zone of the Amhara region since late last week.

“Thousands of migrants have entered Ethiopia from Sudan this week, including citizens of more than 30 nationalities, and with daily arrivals increasing,” said the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in a tweet on Thursday.

Ethiopians who have been residing in Sudan are also among those arriving from the troubled neighboring country.

IOM: “Critical Needs Increasing”

The regional administration and the federal government are jointly providing emergency humanitarian aid as well as material support to the refugees.

“The hosting communities are also offering food and water to the refugees which mainly consist of children, women, mothers and the elderly,” Gizachew Muluneh, communication bureau head of the Amhara region, told local media Wednesday.

These supports might not be enough due to an increase in the number of new arrivals at the border.

According to the UN migration agency, vulnerable migrants arriving in Ethiopia from Sudan are getting life-saving assistance at its Migration Response Centre in the border town of Metema.

However, it says “there are critical needs” for WaSH facilities, water and food, shelter for waiting areas, medical assistance and onward transportation.

IOM Ethiopia’s Chief of Mission Abibatou Wane has issued an appeal for more assistance “to comprehensively address” the situation.

“More support is needed to address the immediate needs of people crossing the border,” chief of mission Wane said in a tweet.

People are on the move amid fragile ceasefire

The deadly fighting is pitting the Sudanese army against the country’s paramilitary force, the Rapid Support Force (RSF).

The reason, reports say, emanated from a disagreement regarding the RSF integration into the army as stipulated in a framework agreement signed between military and civilian leaders on Dec. 5, 2022.

Both sides blamed each other for starting the latest conflict that started on April 15 in Khartoum and then swiftly escalated in other parts of the country.

Sudan’s health ministry says at least 512 people have been killed in the conflict, so far.

Fighting has reportedly continued despite a three-day ceasefire. Thousands of people are also continuing to make perilous journeys to leave Sudan before a fragile ceasefire ends at midnight today.

Apart from those arriving in Ethiopia, more than 1,000 families have also taken refuge in Chad, according to the UN.