NOVEMBER 18, 2020  ETHIOPIANEWS

Source: ICRC

Operational update on escalating fighting in Tigray and northern Ethiopia

Red Cross Hotline

Addis Ababa / Geneva (ICRC) – In just two weeks, escalating fighting in Tigray and northern Ethiopia has triggered immense suffering and risks spiralling into a wider humanitarian crisis.
NEWS RELEASE 18 NOVEMBER 2020 ETHIOPIA SUDAN

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited health care facilities in Tigray and Amhara—many of them yet to receive any assistance—and found them in need of medical supplies and support to care for the influx of wounded. The Ethiopia Red Cross Society (ERCS) has transported hundreds of people injured in areas affected by clashes. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 people have contacted the ICRC’s hotline and visited its office in Mekelle and Addis Ababa looking for help to reach their families.

As fighting continues, we are seeing a devastating humanitarian crisis unfold, not just within Ethiopia but across its borders

said Katia Sorin, ICRC’s head of delegation in Addis Ababa. “Thousands are crossing into Sudan seeking safety, and an untold number are displaced from their homes inside Ethiopia. The telecommunications blackout in Tigray has made it practically impossible for people to contact their family members, causing fear and anguish on the whereabouts and safety of their loved ones.”

The ICRC team visited three hospitals and one primary health care centre in North Amhara to better understand the needs and deliver medical supplies such as surgical materials and items used in trauma care, IV fluids, medicines and medical consumables. The team also provided hospital beds, mattresses, mats, and blankets. For many of these facilities it is the first time they have received any external support since the crisis started. The ICRC has also been assessing the needs at Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekelle.

The ERCS, one of the main ambulance providers in the area which has managed to evacuate hundreds of people with injuries, received first aid materials. Additional medical supplies and emergency medicines are being assembled in Nairobi and Addis Ababa to support other health-care facilities.

ICRC delegates were also granted access to people detained in relation to the fighting to verify their condition and provide essential hygiene and other items. At the same time, ICRC and ERCS teams in Mekelle are working at a local school to help those seeking to contact their families, mostly through short written messages.

Humanitarian concerns

  • Hospitals and primary health care centres in and around areas that have seen active fighting need medical supplies and support to care for the wounded. They also urgently need hospital beds, mattresses, blankets, and bed-sheets. Gonder Teaching Hospital has been receiving large numbers of critically injured patients with more than 400 people treated so far in the facility. The hospital is also catering to 14 COVID-19 patients, a signal of the strain health care facilities could increasingly be under to care for those with trauma injuries amidst a pandemic.
  • The crisis has also created supply chain disruption for routine medicines and medical consumables. Our office in Mekelle received an urgent request from Ayder Referral Hospital in Tigray for drugs and medical supplies to provide diabetic care and dialysis. The hospital is the only one in the region treating these conditions. These disruptions are also impacting communities, especially those such as refugees and internally displaced Ethiopians who are reliant on aid in Tigray.
  • Last week, three ambulances run by the Ethiopia Red Cross were attacked. The specific details behind these incidents are not clear, but it is a worrying sign that medical workers and first responders are not being respected and protected, which can have life-and-death consequences for those relying on them for care. Following this, the ERCS published a statement calling for the respect of the protective use of the Red Cross emblem and not to obstruct the humanitarian work of Ethiopian Red Cross volunteers, staff and other medical personnel.
  • Thousands of people are crossing into Sudan seeking safety, and an untold number of people are displaced inside Ethiopia. They will need food, shelter, water, and medical care as well as support to search for and contact their families.
  •  The telecommunications blackout in Tigray is making it impossible for people to know if their loved ones are alive and safe. This is causing a lot of anguish and anxiety as people search for answers. We are inundated with hundreds of requests through our telephone hotline as well our office in Mekelle to help people get in touch with their relatives and loved ones.
  • We are concerned about the well-being of thousands of Eritrean refugees currently living in Tigray who need protection and assistance.
  • The fighting in Tigray comes on top of recurrent episodes of violence that have flared in different parts of Ethiopia. Many people have been killed, displaced, arrested and injured.

Operational notes

  • The ICRC team visited four health-care facilities, including one primary health-care centre and three hospitals in Gonder, Sanja, Abereha Jira, and Abderafi in North Amhara and provided supplies to care for serious and moderate injuries. Gonder University Hospital received mattresses, blankets, and mats for 200 patients.
  •  The ERCS branch covering West, North and Central Gonder zones in Amhara has 10 ambulances that have transported hundreds of wounded people to different medical facilities so far. The ICRC provided the branch with first aid supplies to support their ambulance work.
  • The ICRC team is visiting people detained in connection to the fighting to assess their conditions of detention and treatment and to distribute basic hygiene items such as soap, disinfectant and jerry cans.
  • A hot-line has been setup to support those searching for their family members in Tigray together with the Ethiopia Red Cross. Our teams have received more than 1,000 phone calls in the last week from people in Ethiopia and abroad who are searching for their loved ones. Anyone searching for his or her family should call our hotline at +251 94 312 2207 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or the Ethiopia Red Cross at +251 11 552 7110.
  • ICRC set up a small service in a high school in Mekelle where more than 400 people have been helped to contact their families mostly through short messages called salamats. However, this is just skimming the surface of the true needs and the telecommunications blackout in Tigray makes it extremely difficult to search for and reconnect loved ones.
  • The ICRC is mobilising additional medical and relief supplies, including medical supplies to care for about 500 severely wounded, at its logistics hub in Nairobi as well as in Addis Ababa. These materials will make an immediate difference to hospitals and clinics struggling to care for patients’ routine and emergency needs.
  • An assessment team will travel to the Sudan-Ethiopia border this week to speak with refugees to better understand the needs, specifically pertaining to health care and family separation together with our partner the Sudanese Red Crescent.
  • The ICRC has a long presence in Ethiopia and has been responding to needs created by violence in other parts of the country such as Oromia, Benishangul-Gumuz, Amhara, and Somali Regional State. The ICRC maintains a bilateral, confidential dialogue with weapon-bearers to ensure that those involved in fighting comply with their obligations under international law.

Urgent Appeal to Stop War in the Horn of Africa

Wednesday, 18 November 2020 22:52 Written by

NOVEMBER 18, 2020  ETHIOPIANEWS

 

Urgent Appeal to Stop War in the Horn of Africa

We, members of the Eritrean Research Institute for Policy and Strategy, (ERIPS), are a group of Eritrean professionals and Intellectuals in the Diaspora.  We are organized on the basis of our specific fields of expertise and our cardinal aim is to engage in research that could guide and serve peace loving Eritreans in the process of transition towards democratic governance and institution building.

We are writing this urgent appeal, to bring to your attention the raging civil war in the Tigrai region of Ethiopia.  This is essentially a war between the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Regional Government of Tigrai.  It should not involve Eritrea and Eritreans.  This futile war, amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, between the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Tigrai regional government, is covertly orchestrated and assisted by the self-appointed dictator of Eritrea, Isaias Afeworki.  It is worth noting that sane leaders elsewhere are protecting their peoples from the consequences of the invisible killer, Corona Virus.

This senseless war has already involved the nation of Eritrea.  There are reports that Eritrean troops attacked places in the border between Eritrea and Tigrai region of Ethiopia; and Missiles fired from the Tigrai region hit targets in Asmara the Capital city of Eritrea on November 14th, 2020.  Other media reports (BBC, AFP) also indicated that the war already has caused significant casualties and displaced thousands.

We, therefore, vehemently condemn the war and any involvement of the Eritrean regime into the internal affairs of Ethiopia.  The Isaias Afeworki Regime is known for instigating wars with neighboring countries (Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen) since 1991.  These wars have led to the unnecessary loss of Eritrean lives, which in the eyes of Isaias Afeworki, are expendable.  The current war will inevitably devour the lives of Eritrean youth who are forcibly conscripted to the army, and Eritrean civilian population will equally face death, destruction and displacement.

We are also gravely worried about the fate of about 100, 000 Eritrean Refugees inside and outside camps in the Tigrai region of Ethiopia.  This puts them in an imminent danger.  Their livelihood depends on donations from UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations.  The war is causing limitations on movement and access in the region; thus, putting the refugees at risk of hunger and displacement on top of the dangers of being in the crossfire of the war.

If the international community including the United States, European Union, United Nations and African Union do not intervene quickly to mediate, we believe the rapidly deteriorating situation will create humanitarian catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.  The war will also spill over to other neighboring countries, further destabilizing the horn of Africa.  We truly believe there is no justification for this war, and it is the Eritrean and Ethiopian people who will bear the brunt of the crises.

We, therefore, urge the speedy involvement of the United States, European Union, United Nations and African Union, in order to de-escalate the situation, quickly avert a humanitarian catastrophe, and eventually move the region towards peace and stability.  We call for such undertakings to entail applying pressure to:

  1. All warring parties (the Federal Government of Ethiopia, the Tigrai Regional Government, and The Eritrean Regime) to cease-fire immediately.
  1. The Eritrean Regime and President Isaias Afewerki to stop interfering in the internal affairs of Ethiopia and to cease and desist any war footing.
  1. The Federal Government of Ethiopia to lift any blockade and allow the UNHCR and/or the Red Cross to have free access to the refugees and civilian population in the Tigrai region to avoid humanitarian crisis.
  1. The Federal Government of Ethiopia and its rival in the Tigrai region, to stop brinkmanship, by peacefully and amicably resolving their outstanding political dispute.

Eritrean Research Institute for Policy and Strategy (ERIPS)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

November 17, 2020

GENEVA (Reuters) - A major humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Ethiopia, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday, with more than 27,000 people now having fled heavy fighting to Sudan.

The pace of the exodus, some 4,000 a day, may also indicate huge uprooting of people within the Tigray region, U.N. agencies said, adding that teams on the ground were overwhelmed.

“People are coming out of Ethiopia really scared, afraid, with stories saying they have been fleeing heavy fighting and there’s no sign of the fighting stopping,” Babar Baloch, spokesman of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a Geneva news briefing.

Ethiopia’s prime minister warned on Tuesday that a deadline for rebel northern forces to lay down arms had expired, paving the way for a push on the Tigray region’s capital in the two-week conflict destabilising the Horn of Africa.

Sudan already hosts nearly 1 million refugees including those who have fled conflict and poverty in Chad, Eritrea, Central African Republic and South Sudan.

“UNHCR is warning that a full-scale humanitarian crisis is unfolding as thousands of refugees flee ongoing fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region each day to seek safety in eastern Sudan,” Baloch said.

“UNHCR is on stand-by to provide assistance in Tigray when access and security allow,” he added.

Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told the briefing: “There may be massive displacement inside Tigray and that is of course a concern and we try to prepare the best way possible.”

Baloch also repeated concerns for tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees settled in Ethiopia, saying that clashes had occurred near to one of the settlements, but that poor communications were complicating aid efforts.

Humanitarian access was a priority, added OCHA’s Laerke, saying negotiations were ongoing. “We are in continuous contact with the federal government and relevant regional authorities,” he told the briefing.

A World Food Programme official said it was operating humanitarian flights daily to Kassala in eastern Sudan and can deploy helicopters to reach isolated groups. It had already delivered more than 1 tonne of food to a Sudanese site - enough to support 60,000 people for a month.

(This story has been corrected to change wording from U.N. official in paragraph 10 to show that “humanitarian access” is a priority, not “the creation of a humanitarian corridor”)

Reporting by Emma Farge and Stephanie Nebehay; Writing by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

The Freedom Friday network reports the presence of Ethiopian soldiers in the Eritrean capital, Asmara.

For some weeks now there have been unconfirmed reports of Ethiopian planes landing at Asmara airport, with the troops on board, before being transported away from the capital.

Other sources suggested that supplies for the frontline in Tigray have been transported from the port of Assab.

The network says that in Asmara itself most of the troops are Eritrean, but on the border with Tigray the story is very different.

Eritrea Tigray map

There are said to be many Ethiopian soldiers in the town of Senafe, and sporadic artillery fire.

There have been heavy troop movements through Senafe to Zalambessa and other fronts.

Eritreans in Aiga and Alitena report being abused by Ethiopian soldiers.

There have been independent reports of Ethiopian soldiers from the Northern Command (now under Tigrayan control) crossing into Eritrea. Local villagers were forced to feed them, until the Eritrean military could provide supplies.

None of this has been reported in the official Eritrean media.

Source: Foreign Office

Escalation of violence in Ethiopia: Minister for Africa statement

Minister for Africa James Duddridge has issued a statement on the escalation of violence in Ethiopia

Following an escalation in violence in Ethiopia, Minister for Africa James Duddridge said:

“The UK calls for immediate de-escalation and the protection of civilians following further violence in Ethiopia and attacks on Asmara, Eritrea over the weekend.

We are working closely with humanitarian agencies to ensure that aid reaches civilians affected by the fighting.”

Background

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab spoke to Prime Minister Abiy on 10 November, emphasising the need for protection of civilians and humanitarian access.

The British Ambassador in Addis Ababa continues to raise the need for de-escalation and an immediate halt to violence with our partners and all parties involved.

UK-funded partners in Tigray are working hard to deliver support in extremely challenging circumstances. This includes to delivering assistance to refugees and host communities including shelter; health; water, sanitation and hygiene; nutrition and protection support.

We continue to raise the need for humanitarian access and restoration of basic services with senior officials in Ethiopia.

Source: The Economist

“I SAW THE dust clouds covering the sky,” said a young university lecturer, describing the bombing by a government warplane of a resort on the outskirts of Alamata, a small town in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray. In normal times Alamata is known for its beautiful green mountains. Now it is a battleground in Ethiopia’s civil war, which broke out on November 4th between the federal government and Tigray’s rulers, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

As he fled towards Afar, a neighbouring state, the lecturer saw lorries carrying federal soldiers driving the other way. By the time the convoy reached Alamata, it was almost deserted. Most Tigrayan civilians had already left and Tigrayan armed forces were retreating into the mountains.

On November 16th the federal government said its forces had captured Alamata, which is on Tigray’s eastern border and about 120km from the regional capital of Mekelle. It also claimed to have captured key territory in western Tigray. This suggests the Ethiopian army has been attacking on at least two fronts since it was ordered into action by Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, to put down what he claimed was an armed revolt by the TPLF. But it is far too soon to suggest that these early victories herald a short or easily contained war. In fact, the opposite. As the TPLF has faced setbacks on its borders, it appears to have tried to widen the conflict, perhaps in a gamble that this will increase international pressure on the federal government to agree to peace talks, and that it will give the TPLF cards to play once the negotiations start. On November 14th it fired rockets over the border at Asmara, the capital of neighbouring Eritrea.

The attack threatens to drag Eritrea into conflict in Ethiopia barely two years after the two countries made peace. “It was a legitimate target,” says Debretsion Gebremichael, Tigray’s president. “Ethiopian forces were using Asmara airport.” He also claimed Tigrayan forces were fending off 16 Eritrean divisions on several fronts. Others are less convinced. Tibor Nagy, America’s senior diplomat for Africa, condemned the TPLF’s “unjustifiable attacks against Eritrea” and its “efforts to internationalise the conflict”.

The Eritrean government denies any involvement in Ethiopia’s conflict. But few doubt that its president, Isaias Afwerki, would like to see the Tigrayans routed. His bad blood with the TPLF dates back to the 1980s, when he was an Eritrean rebel fighting alongside the TPLF against the communist Derg regime, which fell in 1991. Between 1998 and 2000, the newly independent Eritrea fought a bitter border war against Ethiopia, then dominated by the TPLF, that cost perhaps 100,000 lives. Debretsion (as well as some eyewitnesses) claim that Eritrean soldiers have been involved in fighting near the border in recent days. At a minimum, retreating Ethiopian troops have been allowed to regroup on Eritrean soil before returning to battle.

The TPLF has also struck within Ethiopia, firing rockets at two airports in Amhara, the second-most-populous of Ethiopia’s ten ethnically-based regional states. Thousands of Amhara militiamen, mostly farmers with rusty kalashnikovs, have marched towards Tigray. They are fighting alongside the federal army to push Tigrayan forces out of disputed towns near the state border. The involvement of these regional militias in a country as divided as Ethiopia is a recipe for ethnic bloodletting. There are some signs that this has already started. Possibly hundreds of civilians, many of them Amharas, were hacked to death with machetes and knives on November 9th in Mai Kadra, according to Amnesty International. Some witnesses said that forces loyal to the TPLF were responsible for the killings, though Amnesty was unable to confirm this. Tigrayan refugees fleeing into Sudan from the same district told Reuters that they had been attacked by people from Amhara. As many as 25,000 people have sought refuge in Sudan.

Fears the war could fan ethnic conflagration in other parts of Ethiopia have been further heightened by the harassment of Tigrayans in the national capital, Addis Ababa, and elsewhere. Many Tigrayans in the security services, civil service and state institutions have been told not to come into work. Possibly hundreds have been detained. Ordinary Tigrayans have been turned away from international flights at the airport in Addis Ababa and told they cannot leave the country. Local IDs in Ethiopia typically reveal citizen’s ethnic background, and airport staff have instructed Ethiopian nationals to show them.

Both sides to the conflict may have hoped it would be over quickly. After the TPLF ordered its troops to fire the first shots with an attack on a camp housing federal troops in Mekelle, they described it as an act of “anticipatory self-defence”. Abiy’s government, for its part, has insisted it is involved in a policing operation aimed at “enforcing the rule of law”. But bad blood, and a lack of trust, between the two sides runs deep. The TPLF, which called the shots in the federal government for almost 30 years, has yet to come to terms with its dethroning in 2018 after massive protests brought Abiy to power. Following his appointment as prime minister, Abiy sidelined the TPLF and began removing Tigrayans from state institutions, in particular the army and intelligence agency in which they wielded outsized influence given that they make up less than 10% of Ethiopia’s population. He later accused the TPLF of undermining Ethiopia’s fragile transition to democracy by arming opposition groups (though he provided no real evidence for this claim) and of flouting federal law.

Tensions worsened when the central government postponed elections earlier this year, citing covid-19. The TPLF accused Abiy of breaking the constitution in order to stay in power and went ahead with its own regional election in September. The federal government deemed it illegal and proceeded to slash federal funding to the region. The TPLF called this a “declaration of war”.

Two weeks into the actual war, the TPLF seems a little less keen on fighting it. Debretsion has called on the African Union and UN to condemn the Ethiopian offensive. But Abiy’s government says it will not enter talks or mediation until the TPLF disarms. His government has issued arrest warrants for TPLF leaders including Debretsion. It has also switched off the internet and telephone network in Tigray and blocked food and medical supplies. Federal warplanes have been hammering arms stores and oil depots, and may well have hit some civilians too. Many Ethiopians hope the war will be over by Christmas. There are few signs that it will be.

The Tigray regional leader would not say how many missiles remain at his troops’ disposal but said “we have several. We can use it selectively, anywhere.” When asked about possibly targeting Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, he replied: “I don’t want to tell you, but the missiles are long-range as well.”

Source: AP

By CARA ANNA

Refugees from the Tigray region of Ethiopia region wait to register at the UNCHR center at Hamdayet, Sudan on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. Ethiopia’s defiant Tigray regional government has fired rockets at two airports in the neighboring Amhara region as a deadly conflict threatens to spread into other parts of Africa’s second-most populous country. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The leader of Ethiopia’s rebellious Tigray region has confirmed firing missiles at neighboring Eritrea’s capital and is threatening more, marking a huge escalation as the deadly fighting in northern Ethiopia between Tigray forces and the federal government spills across an international border.

Tigray regional President Debretsion Gebremichael, in a phone interview Sunday with The Associated Press, would not say how many missiles were fired at the city of Asmara on Saturday but said it was the only city in Eritrea that was targeted.

“As long as troops are here fighting, we will take any legitimate military target and we will fire,” he said, accusing Eritrea of sending troops into the Tigray region and denying reports that Tigray regional forces have entered Eritrea.

“We will fight them on all fronts with whatever means we have,” he said. He asserted that around 16 Eritrean divisions are fighting in what he called a “full-scale war.”

The brewing civil war in Ethiopia between a regional government that once dominated the country’s ruling coalition, and a Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister whose sweeping reforms marginalized the Tigray region’s power, could fracture a key U.S. security ally and destabilize the strategic Horn of Africa, with the potential to send scores of thousands of refugees into Sudan.

At least three rockets appeared to be aimed at the airport in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, hours after the Tigray regional government on Saturday warned it might attack. It has accused Eritrea of attacking it at the invitation of Ethiopia’s government after the conflict erupted on Nov. 4 with an attack by regional forces on a federal military base in the Tigray region.

In a security alert, the U.S. Embassy in Eritrea said “a series of loud noises were heard in Asmara” on Saturday night, and “unconfirmed reports indicate they may have been explosive devices believed to be in the vicinity of the Asmara International Airport. There are no indications the airport was struck.”

The Tigray regional leader would not say how many missiles remain at his troops’ disposal but said “we have several. We can use it selectively, anywhere.” When asked about possibly targeting Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, he replied: “I don’t want to tell you, but the missiles are long-range as well.”

Eritrean officials have not responded to requests for comment, and there was no immediate comment on the missile attack from Ethiopia’s federal government.

The Tigray leader said he had no communication with Ethiopia’s federal government. The African Union is pushing for a cease-fire, he said, “but the prime minister is not ready to listen. He believes in the might he has.” He called this a “really messy situation which requires international intervention.”

Tigray’s heavily armed regional government broke away from Ethiopia’s ruling coalition last year, and it objects to the postponement of national elections until next year, which extends Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s rule. In September it held a regional election in defiance of Abiy.

Each side regards the other as illegal, and the federal government now says members of the Tigray region’s ruling “clique” now must be arrested and their well-stocked arsenal destroyed. Abiy calls it a “law enforcement action” while his military officials call it war.

The Tigray leader told the AP he didn’t have an exact number of people killed in the fighting but said “a very massive displacement is happening. The fighting is happening on all fronts, in addition to airstrikes.” He added, “we have to defend ourselves, you know?”

The Tigray region is boxed in among Ethiopian forces, Eritrea and Sudan, which has closed its border but allows in refugees.

The Tigray leader said his government, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, has had no communications channel with Eritrea, even before the conflict. The two sides are at bitter odds after a long and deadly border war that ended after Abiy took office in 2018.

Abiy has rejected pleas by the international community for an immediate de-escalation as his government refuses to regard the TPLF as an entity to negotiate with.

Another senior TPLF official, Getachew Reda, in a statement posted on social media asserted that Ethiopia’s prime minister “is now enlisting the support of UAE drones based in (the Eritrean city of) Assab in his devastating war against the people of Tigray.” He offered no evidence to back the claim.

The United Nations and others have warned of a looming humanitarian disaster as some 25,000 Ethiopian refugees, hungry and scared, have fled the Tigray region into Sudan. Communications and transport links with the Tigray region remain almost completely severed, and millions are at risk as food, fuel and other supplies run low.

Egypt, Sudan launch joint military exercises

Monday, 16 November 2020 13:42 Written by

Eritrea’s Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Presidential Adviser Yemane Gebreab met in Khartoum today President of the Sovereign Council, Gen. Abdulfattah al-Burhan, as well as Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok and delivered message from President Isaias Afwerki

 

By SAMY MAGDY

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt and Sudan have launched joint military exercises, the Egyptian army announced Saturday, in the latest sign of deepening security ties between the Nile Valley neighbors.

The exercises run by Egyptian and Sudanese commando and air forces were the first joint combat training held since the ouster of Sudanese autocrat Omar al-Bashir last year.

The joint military initiative came less than a month after President Donald Trump announced that Washington would remove Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, paving the way for the African country to be integrated into the international community. That move combined with Sudan’s decision to start normalizing ties with Israel, a key U.S. ally in the region.

Egypt’s military said in a statement that the joint combat exercises, dubbed “Nile’s Eagles-1”, are being held in Sudan and would last until Nov. 26.

The exercises include planning and running combat activities, as well as commando groups conducting search and rescue missions, according to the statement.

The joint initiative comes as regional tensions in Nile Valley are increasing.

Deadly fighting between Ethiopian federal forces and the regional government in the Tigray area that erupted on Nov. 4 has reportedly killed hundreds on both sides in the clashes, and raised international concern about a possible civil war at the heart of the Horn of Africa.

Meanwhile, Egypt has expressed increasing alarm over Ethiopia’s mega-dam project upstream, fearing it could reduce its share of the Nile waters. The Blue Nile, the river’s main tributary, accounts for 80% of the river’s volume, and originates in Ethiopia’s highlands before merging with the White Nile at the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

The Nile provides nearly all of Egypt’s freshwater and much of its electricity supply.

Ethiopia says its dam would have no negative impact on Egypt or Sudan, and argues it is vital for its development.

Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow al-Bashir in April 2019, after nearly three decades of rule.

During al-Bashir’s era, relations between Sudan and Egypt suffered from sporadic tensions, including repeated failures to reach a deal over Ethiopia’s massive dam being built on the Blue Nile, and the revival of a longstanding dispute over a border territory, the Halayeb Triangle, held by Egypt and claimed by Sudan.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s government has intensified its efforts to rebuild ties with its southern neighbor since al-Bashir’s ouster, including supporting the new Sudanese government’s efforts to be delisted from the U.S. state-sponsors of terrorism list.

The United Nations Refugee agency – UNHCR – has now opened a special appeal for the refugees now flooding across the border into Sudan.

The appeal can be found here. All funds go directly to the UNHCR for their work in tackling this crisis.

This is the information from the UNHCR is from 13 November. The numbers rise daily.

Since the violence began early November, more than 14,500 children, women and men have fled into Sudan in search of safety, overwhelming the current capacity to provide aid.

The numbers are increasing rapidly – with over 4,000 crossing the border in just one day. The majority have crossed at Hamdayet border point in Kassala State and others at Lugdi in Gedaref State.
People are arriving with very few belongings indicating they fled in a hurry.

UNHCR and its partners are ramping up assistance, but the numbers of new arrivals are far outpacing the capacity on the ground.

The transit center at Hamdayet border crossing has a capacity to accommodate 300 refugees, but is already overwhelmed with 6,000 people. Sanitation facilities are insufficient, impacting hygiene.

Source: Ethiopian Reporter

The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia, Catherine Sozi, asked the Ethiopian government to open a humanitarian corridor through which humanitarian support can be delivered to people in need of assistance. She asked for the opening up of infrastructural facilities such as roads, water access, telecommunication and banks.

“Although there are over 800 humanitarian workers residing in the Tigray region, it has become impossible to communicate and deliver the necessary humanitarian assistance in conflicting areas,” said Catherine Sozi.