ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 2 — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Tuesday appealed for funding to provide food and nutrition assistance to more than 60,000 Ethiopian refugees fleeing into eastern Sudan in recent months.
The WFP, which described the situation as “critical time as the humanitarian situation at the border remains dire,” has called for urgent funding so as to provide basic humanitarian assistance to Ethiopian refugees flocking into eastern Sudan on the backdrop of recent military confrontation in Ethiopia’s northernmost Tigray region.
“Despite generous contributions and efforts, WFP Sudan still requires 173.8 million U.S. dollars in funding for its operations in the first half of this year, of which 8.6 million U.S. dollars is needed to sustain food assistance and nutrition support for refugees arriving from Tigray over the coming four months,” a WFP statement issued Tuesday read.
Noting that people who are arriving at the border have fled “with almost nothing, exhausted and hungry with no sense of when they can return home,” Hameed Nuru, WFP representative and country director in Sudan, stressed that it is essential that “we move quickly to provide necessary assistance as they overcome the shock of being displaced from their homes.”
Last week, the WFP officially launched a “Share the Meal” fundraising campaign aiming for individual users of the ShareTheMeal app to share 1,000,000 meals.
According to Nuru, the campaign allows individual givers from all around the world to make donations towards this cause at a time when it’s needed most.
The WFP has been responding to the influx of Ethiopian refugees in Sudan, mainly through the provision of food at reception centers on the border, logistical support to the humanitarian community, distributing monthly food rations to refugees in camps, and providing nutrition support to children under five and pregnant as well as nursing women.
After conflict broke out in Ethiopia’s Tigray regional state between the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in early November last year, fighting had escalated throughout the region, which eventually left tens of thousands to seek refuge crossing the Ethiopian border into Sudan.
In addition to Ethiopian refugees fleeing to Sudan, various UN agencies have been recently calling for support for conflict-affected people inside the region, who are also facing the brunt of pre-existing humanitarian crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Migration Agency, had emphasized that recent conflict, coupled with the pre-existing humanitarian needs and the COVID-19 pandemic, “has created a concerning and volatile humanitarian situation” in the Tigray region.
The Ethiopian federal government, which is now engaged in restoration activities on the backdrop of the conflict, had also recently disclosed the provision of humanitarian assistance to more than 1.8 million people in the conflict-hit Tigray region.
“Humanitarian response in the Tigray region is underway. Since the law enforcement operation in the Northern part of Ethiopia was completed, humanitarian assistance containing food and non-food items and medical supplies have been delivered for more than 1.8 million beneficiaries,” Ethiopia’s Ministry of Peace said last week.
The ministry further said that preparations have been finalized to address more than 2.5 million beneficiaries across the region.