Eritreans are taking advantage of reopening of border crossing to enter neighbouring Ethiopia. Some to visit relatives, others for trade but also others are there to stay.
This is according to ReliefWeb, a leading humanitarian information source on global crises and disasters. It is a specialized digital service for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
ReliefWeb cited the Shire District administration in the northern Ethiopian Tigray regional state as stating that up to 15,000 Eritreans have arrived in the Ethiopia since borders reopened.
The combination of unchanged conditions inside Eritrea and open borders has led to a stark increase in refugee numbers. According to UNHCR, the average daily arrival rate has increased more than fourfold.
The respective governments reopened border crossings on September 11 – the Ethiopian New Year – it follows days of closure following a deadly border war between the two.
Leaders of the two countries signed a July 2018 peace agreement to officially end the standoff. ReliefWeb’s statement explained the possible cause of the phenomenon.
“The combination of unchanged conditions inside Eritrea and open borders has led to a stark increase in refugee numbers. According to UNHCR, the average daily arrival rate has increased more than fourfold.
“Other partners refer to 500 in the last few days. This brings the total number of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia to 175 000, a large proportion of whom are unaccompanied minors.
“The existing refugee population in the Shire zone fear losing their refugee status and of reprisals by Eritrean authorities following the influx, despite reassurances from UNHCR and ARRA.
“The situation remains fluid but the influx into Ethiopia is likely to continue and even increase. Humanitarian assistance and resources will need to be scaled up to respond to the growing needs across all sectors and to reduce the inherent risks of onward migration,” their statement read.