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Thousands of Ethiopians seek asylum in Sudan’s Blue Nile state

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Several thousand people fleeing escalating violence in Ethiopia’s Benishangul Gumuz region have sought refuge in Blue Nile state in Sudan over the past month.

Tensions have been high in the Metekel area since 2019 with several reports of inter-municipal attacks in the region. The situation has worsened rapidly over the past three months. The Ethiopian federal government declared a state of emergency in the region on January 21, 2021.

UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, is working closely with Sudanese authorities and partners to assess the situation and respond to the humanitarian needs of the new arrivals, many of whom have arrived in hard-to-reach places along from the border.

Benishangul Gumuz is found in W Ethiopia. The current displacement is not directly linked to the conflict in the northern Tigray region, which has caused more than 61,000 people to seek refuge in Sudan in recent months.

Of the estimated 7,000 people who have arrived in Blue Nile State, nearly 3,000 have been registered. This number is expected to increase as the verification exercise continues in all places where refugees are hosted.

In recent weeks, UNHCR and its partners have already provided humanitarian assistance to nearly 1,000 refugees in Yabatcher, on the Sudan-Ethiopia border. The refugees were provided with food, access to sanitation, water and sanitation, and aid supplies.

The majority of these asylum seekers live in the Sudanese host community which continues to welcome people seeking safety. UNHCR and its partners will continue to scale up the response to support the government in its response.

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