Ethiopia conflict puts 2.3 million children in need

Cheryl Sanders
November 21, 2020

Axel Bisschop, the agency's representative in Sudan, told reporters that "nobody at this stage can say exactly how many will come", but United Nations officials said fighting continues between Ethiopian government and Tigray regional government forces.

For the second time in a week, rockets fired by Tigray rebels have hit the city of Bahir Dar in the Amhara region.

Aid agencies are calling for an immediate temporary ceasefire in Ethiopia to allow aid to reach civilians affected by the fighting.

Guterres added: "This is a matter of enormous concern to us".

At least 33,000 refugees have already crossed Ethiopia's border into Sudan.

"What I can say in response is that I know Tedros, I know him as somebody who is passionately promoting global health, promoting the good health of people and promoting peace", WHO Africa chief Matshidiso Moeti told reporters during a COVID-19 briefing. The WCC mourned "the deaths of so many people".

UNICEF's Sudan-based representative Abdullah Fadil anxious about the impact on Sudan, already hosting 1 million refugees from other African wars. "Soon we will be overwhelmed. if this rate continues".

"Internationalising the conflict, that is one absolute danger that we are doing our best, the entire region is doing its best, to avoid", he said. She said that on the way to Sudan with her children, "we saw a lot of dead bodies", while upon their tired arrival, "we didn't find food". People welcomed us here.

Their host, Um Al-Hassan Khamis, confirmed it. "Every effort should be made to keep children out of harm's way, and to ensure that they are protected from recruitment and use in the conflict", she said.

Relief agencies like the International Crisis Committee say tens of thousands of people have fled Tigray into Sudan. "It's a mix of medical doctors, professionals, bankers, to farmers", Fadil said. "This [current] situation increases the despair of these people and drives them into the hands of human traffickers", Abba Zerai told a Roman Catholic news agency.

Tigray's ruling party, the TPLF, has refused to surrender and has previously accused federal forces of killing civilians - a claim that the Ethiopian government denies. Along the way, the government said, the soldiers "conquered" Shire - a community that humanitarians use as a base for working with almost 100,000 refugees from neighboring Eritrea.

The ministerial notification does not specify how many people have sought refuge in the Sudan since last November 4th, when the military offensive began, but some sources estimate that the figure rises to 30,000, including around 12,000 children.

Head of Ethiopia's State of Emergency Task Force and State Foreign Affairs Minister Redwan Hussien blamed WHO Chief for failing or unwilling to get information about the matter from the government.

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