Conflict in Ethiopia has left their future uncertain. But refugees continue to show care and compassion to those around them.
“We heard there were civilians wounded by the bombings,” he says.
“People were leaving without anything, rushing away to save their own lives.”
Dr Daryelowm had worked as a specialist for four years at the hospital in western Tigray. When the violence became too much, he fled the region and sought safety in Sudan.
A day after reaching the Sudanese settlement near the border, Dr Daryelowm returned to work.
He pulled together a group of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and even a veterinarian to help fellow refugees who had fallen sick with illnesses like malaria, pneumonia and typhoid.
“We started off working out of a house, using scraps of paper as scripts for patients,” he says.
More medicines are needed, especially for those who were taking medication for chronic conditions, such as diabetes and HIV. But Dr Daryelowm isn’t ready to give up.
“We have to fight to the end. We can’t give quality care here, but we can give something, some basic care to the people who are here.”
Around 50,000 Ethiopian refugees have crossed the border into Sudan since violence escalated between the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
Refugees are arriving with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Ariane Maixandeau, Associate Reporting Officer at UNHCR Kassala in East Sudan, says it is the largest influx the region has seen for decades.
“Most refugees have left everything behind, unable to bring any official papers, money or personal belongings,” Ariane says.
“Although most arrived physically healthy, many have seen atrocities and need psychosocial support.”
Ariane is familiar with crisis, having worked on the Syrian refugee emergency in Lebanon.
But she says the sudden stream of new arrivals into Sudan, as well as political transition, economic crisis and a global pandemic, has made the situation very challenging.
Many refugees have lost contact with family members while fleeing. Most have not had contact since the conflict started in early November.
“It breaks my heart when I talk to refugees who don’t know where their husbands, wives, children and other loved ones are or whether they are safe,” Ariane says.
“They are terrified that anything would have happened to them and hope every day that they can be reunited at the border in Sudan.
“None of them wanted to leave their family, home, or livelihood behind. But the unsafe and threatening situation in Tigray left them no choice.”
UNHCR is on the ground working with local authorities and partners to ensure families receive much-needed services, including food, water, sanitation, health, shelter and family tracing and reunification.
But resources are stretched.
Children, women and men are arriving exhausted and scared in neighbouring Sudan.
Caught in the middle of conflict.
James Tut beat the odds to finish university and now he wants his children and students to go even further.
The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.