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These refugees fled a massacre in Ethiopia's Tigray region. They join tens of thousands making the journey to Sudan

November 22, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Ethiopian refugees who fled fighting in Tigray province lay in a hut at the Um Rakuba camp in Sudan's eastern Gedaref province, on November 18, 2020. - Sudan -- one of the world's poorest countries, now faced with the massive influx -- has reopened the camp, 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the border. It once housed refugees who fled Ethiopia's 1983-85 famine that killed over a million people. (Photo by Ebrahim HAMID / AFP) (Photo by EBRAHIM HAMID/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

The incident came days after Ethiopia's federal government declared "war" with the region's ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), earlier this month.

Tigrayan militias came with machetes and knives, looking for people from the Amhara region to kill, he said.

We came here to work, but when they realized that the defense force was winning, they killed us for no reason," he said over the phone to CNN.

After conducting an independent investigation, Amnesty said that scores -- and likely hundreds -- of people were stabbed or hacked to death in Mai-Kadra.

"When we arrived, we found that many people had been killed or injured," another local resident, whom Amnesty International connected to CNN, said over the phone.

A medical doctor in the Mai-Kadra area said under condition of anonymity that the attack was carried out with sharp objects, like machetes and knives.

"When I arrived in Mai-Kadra town, corpses were seen on the streets," he said.

In a statement posted by the TPLF on Facebook Wednesday, Tigrayan leaders vowed that "the people of Tigray will never kneel down to actions of aggressors," as Abiy said the deadline for them to surrender had expired.

Halka Alm, a 42-year-old father of three, arrived in Hamdayet, Sudan from a village in Ethiopia which he told CNN was attacked by "abusive soldiers" with guns, knives and machetes during the night.

"Neither the Ethiopian government nor the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) are interested in mediation at this point," said Tibor Nagy, the US assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

Humanitarian organizations are struggling to provide services amid the tsunami of refugees, said the World Food Programme (WFP), the food assistance branch of the UN.

"We have enough food for 60,000 people for one month," the country director of the WFP, Hameed Nuru, said on Wednesday.

The WFP is providing hot meals to refugees arriving at the reception centers, but said it is challenging to prepare food with a lack of cooking utensils and facilities.

It also said the influx of refugees adds additional burden to Sudan, a country that was already facing a humanitarian crisis due to recent floods, locust infestations and the coronavirus pandemic.

"The situation has been and still is generally unstable in this region with the troubles and influx of refugees, especially from Eritrea and Ethiopia," Rashid Aldaw, a senior officer for the Kassala state refugee commission, said at Hamdayet.

"There is a real humanitarian crisis being created by the unfolding conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region," said the EU crisis management commissioner, Janez Lenarčič, in a statement on Thursday.

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