Agency Resumes Humanitarian Assistance to Eritrean Refugees in Tigray Region


Addis Ababa, December 20/2020(ENA) Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affair (ARRA) has been reactivating the humanitarian assistance to Eritrean refugees that was disrupted due to the law enforcement operation in Tigray Regional State. 

ARRA Director General, Tesfahun Gobezaye, told ENA that the normal supply of humanitarian assistance to the Eritrean refugees in Tigray was disrupted over the last six weeks due to the law enforcement operation conducted by the government following the TPLF junta’s attack against the Ethiopian National Defense Force Northern Command.

According to him, the TPLF clique had also committed crimes on the refugee camps by damaging and looting properties. The clique had also detained the staff members of the camps, he stated.

“As part of TPLF’s illegal activities, some of the staffs who were working in the four refugees camps throughout the region and Zonal office were its affiliates. As a result, they have caused some damages to properties and our staff members were also detained. However, they have escaped and walked more than seven hour on foot to reach a safe area,” he pointed out.

Tesfahun recalled that Ethiopia is one of the four runners in the world in giving shelter and protection to refugees by hosting one million refugees from 26 different countries across the globe with majority from neighboring countries.  

Over 46,000 Eritrean are among these refugees who are located in various camps in Tigray Region; the director noted adding that “we were unable to operate properly in camps for some weeks because of the heinous acts committed by the TPLF junta against the northern command of the Ethiopian army.”

However, he said the Ethiopian government jointly with the international humanitarian agencies has taken a swift measure in order to reopen the normal operation in the camps. 

Currently the Agency has resumed the humanitarian assistance after its staffs evaluated the situation in their visits to the camps.

Accordingly, the emergency food supply and other necessary humanitarian aids have been distributed in major refugee camps including Adi-Harush and Mai-Ayini in the northern part of Ethiopia, he added.  

“We took the necessary and immediate action as the two camps (Adi-Harush and Mai-Ayini) host 70 percent of the total Eritrean refugees. So we have sent a team that reviewed the situation in collaboration with World Food Program. And now we have begun distributing emergency food aid to these camps,” the director general indicated.

The agency is also working to prevent irregular movements of refugees in Tigray.

According to agency’s Response Team member,  Muluken Tilahun, so far some 460 refugees were returned from Addis Ababa and other places who had left the camps during the operation.

“We sent them back to camps. We worked hard to ensure that the rest of the refugees were able to stay in the camp. We also have a monthly food distribution. We work with stakeholders to ensure the accessibility of other basic supplies including water, medical services and protection .”