With nearly 8 million people displaced by the brutal conflict in Sudan, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has called for urgent and additional support to meet their needs.
Concluding a three-day visit to Ethiopia this week, Grandi observed first-hand the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia, supported by UNHCR and partners, to assist Sudanese refugees who have recently arrived in the country. Grandi travelled to Assosa, in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, where he met some of the over 20,000 refugees and asylum-seekers currently hosted at the Kurmuk transit centre. Since April 2023, over 100,000 people have crossed into Ethiopia from Sudan, including close to 47,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. These come in addition to some 50,000 Sudanese refugees already in the country.
“I heard stories of heartbreaking loss of family, friends, homes and livelihoods, yet in the midst of this despair, I also saw refugees’ determination to move forward, if given the support and opportunity,” said Grandi.
Grandi expressed appreciation for the Government as well as local communities for allocating land and welcoming those forced to flee despite their own challenges, including hosting a large refugee population.
“Ethiopia’s continued generosity to the displaced, including those who have recently arrived from Sudan, is commendable and should be matched with even greater support from the international community. Without further donor support, it will be extremely difficult to deliver much-needed help to those who need it most,” Grandi added.
Ethiopia is one of six neighbouring countries that continue to receive thousands of people fleeing Sudan. Last week, the number of new arrivals to Chad topped 500,000 since last April and, in South Sudan, on average 1,500 people cross daily into the country.
UNHCR is supporting the Ethiopian Government, including the Refugees and Returnees Service, regional and local authorities, to provide protection and life-saving services to the new arrivals.
Newly arrived Sudanese refugees are being relocated away from the border areas to new settlements. The Government, UNHCR and other partners are working towards developing settlements that support the inclusion of refugees into national systems. Services such as education, health, and access to clean water will be reinforced and benefit both host and refugee communities.
The High Commissioner highlighted several other regions in Ethiopia where protection and humanitarian needs are also on the rise, such as the Somali region, which has experienced a continued influx of refugees from Laascaanood, Somalia, as well as the effects of El Niño and recent floods. He also highlighted the impact of dwindling resources on the humanitarian response, particularly in health and education.
Ethiopia hosts one of the largest refugee and internally displaced populations globally. As the third largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, it is currently home to nearly 1 million refugees – mainly from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan – while an estimated 3.5 million Ethiopians are internally displaced.
At the end of last year, UNHCR’s programmes in Ethiopia were significantly less than half-funded (36 per cent of the $431 million needed). In 2024, the overall requirements for UNHCR’s response in Ethiopia totals some $426 million.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).