World In Sudan camp, a Tigray farmer once displaced by famine now shelters from war

18:10  30 november  2020
18:10  30 november  2020 Source:   reuters.com

Ethiopia's Tigray: These refugees fled a town littered with corpses. They join tens of thousands making the journey to Sudan

  Ethiopia's Tigray: These refugees fled a town littered with corpses. They join tens of thousands making the journey to Sudan Thousands have made the journey from the Tigray region in Ethiopia to neighboring Sudan where they have been met with a shortage of food, beds and shelter. The UN described Tigray as a humanitarian crisis which will only escalate in the coming weeks. A town 'covered with corpses'Another survivor, Gashaw Maleda, said four of his friends escaped, but another 15 were killed. Tigrayan militias came with machetes and knives, looking for people from the Amhara region to kill, he said. © Marwan Ali/AP At least 30,000 refugees have fled to neigboring Sudan, according to the UN. "I hated being human at the time.

Tigray men who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region, run to recieve cooked rice from charity organization Muslim Aid, at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Ethiopian refugees who fled the Tigray conflict, start building temporary huts at Um Raquba camp in Sudan 's eastern Gedaref province on

In the early months of 2017, parts of South Sudan experienced a famine following several years of instability in the country's food supply caused by war and drought.

By Seham Eloraby and Baz Ratner

a man holding a wine glass: Um Rakuba refugee camp on Sudan-Ethiopia border © Reuters/BAZ RATNER Um Rakuba refugee camp on Sudan-Ethiopia border

UM RAKUBA CAMP, Sudan (Reuters) - Ethiopian farmer Berhan Halie came to Sudan 35 years ago to escape hunger.

Now 65 and walking with a stick, he is back again, this time to escape the bullets and bombs of the conflict in Tigray, fleeing from his village as neighbours lay dead on the ground.

Berhan and his family spent days walking to the border crossing with Sudan, among more than 45,000 who have fled from fighting between the Ethiopian government and rebellious Tigray forces.

After crossing two weeks ago, he was brought by bus to the Um Rakuba camp in Sudan's Qadarif state -- the same site he came to when fleeing the famine that had ravaged northern Ethiopia in 1985.

After escaping Ethiopia, mothers face giving birth in camps

  After escaping Ethiopia, mothers face giving birth in camps Like all mothers-to-be, Berekhti Burro dreamt of bringing new life into the world in a safe place, with love and care at home to give her baby the best start. But Burro, nine-months pregnant, was forced to flee intense fighting near her home in Humera in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, trekking for hours in the blazing sun to safety in neighbouring Sudan. Now the 27-year-old sits with her husband in their new home; a makeshift shelter in the rapidly growing tent-town of Um Raquba refugee camp, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the border.

Shop now . United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi talks to members of the media during his visit to the Um Rakuba refugee camp which houses Ethiopian refugees fleeing the fighting in the Tigray region, on the Sudan -Ethiopia border on Nov.

A famine is declared in parts of South Sudan following civil war and economic collapse. A famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan , the first to be announced in any part of the world in six years. There have been warnings of famine in Yemen, Somalia and north-eastern Nigeria, but

"The first time I came was because of famine but now it's because of war, that's why I feel really sad and I feel so much pain," said Berhan, sitting in the shade against some foam matting as he rested an old leg injury.

He recounted how dead bodies were strewn behind him as he fled amid heavy fire. He had no chance to identify them, but is sure they were from his village, Rayan.

"I could not manage to look back because I was thinking about my family and how to escape and how to get out of the country," he said.

"I wasn't the only one walking. So many people were walking alongside me, and mothers carrying their children on their backs, and others the same age as me."

Like other mainly Tigrayan refugees who have fled to Sudan, Berhan blamed the violence on government forces and allied militia. Reuters was unable to verify his claims.

Sudanese open arms to Ethiopians fleeing conflict

  Sudanese open arms to Ethiopians fleeing conflict Ethiopian refugee Sejamara didn't know what to expect when she and her husband waded across a river to Sudan, certainly not the welcome they received from local residents. Hungry, thirsty and exhausted after a trek of several hours, they entered the poor border town of Hamdayit in the early days of the conflict in northern Ethiopia's Tigray region. All they wanted was a place to sleep, away from the crammed makeshift camps housing thousands of refugees at the nearby Hamdayit transit centre."We thought of renting a place but the people here have put us up without money," said Sejamara, who now lives in a straw-built shelter with a simple bed inside.

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Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan , but extreme hunger is widespread throughout the country. The food crisis is a perfect storm of war

The government denies it has killed civilians in the conflict. Both sides have accused the other of ethnic-based killings, while denying responsibility for carrying them out.

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed since fighting broke out in Tigray, where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government has been trying to quell a rebellion by the Tigray People's Liberation Front.

Assertions from all sides are difficult to verify since phone and internet links to Tigray have been down and access tightly controlled since the conflict began on Nov. 4.

"This is inhumane, slaughtering people, stealing all their belongings, I feel the world has betrayed Tigray because people are doing nothing while people are being killed," said Berhan.

Conditions at Um Rakuba are harsh. New arrivals have been sheltering under trees and tents made from sticks and plastic sheeting. Those not yet registered as refugees get two rations of sorghum porridge a day, which some complain is making them sick.

Some teenagers pass the time playing volleyball next to a row of white tents, while others queue for food or try to sleep.

The war in Tigray region has heightened frictions between Ethiopia's myriad ethnic groups.

Ethiopian authorities said on Saturday that the military operation in Tigray was over, they controlled the regional capital Mekelle, and a hunt for the rebel leaders was under way.

For Berhan, speaking on Sunday, the Ethiopian government had already won.

"They made a plan on how to destroy Tigray and the plan is about to happen. The attack is about to be accomplished," he said.

(Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Aidan Lewis, William Maclean)

Aid Groups Struggle to Access Ethiopian Tigray Region After Deal .
Humanitarian agencies are struggling to access Ethiopia’s conflict-torn Tigray region, despite a government agreement last week to allow them into the area. © Photographer: Byron Smith/Getty Images Europe HAMDAYET, SUDAN - DECEMBER 6: Refugees from the Tigray region of Ethiopia wait to be transferred to a camp with more infrastructure at a UNHCR reception area in the east Sudanese border village of Hamdayet on December 6, 2020 in Hamdayet, Sudan.

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