The current situation
In Tigray, people who have fled their homes across the region are now trying to find shelter where they can elsewhere. Tens of thousands of people have arrived in Shire, a large town in the zone of North West Tigray.
Most have fled with few possessions; many just with their clothes on their backs. In Shire, the majority stay with the host community, but 20,000 people live in informal sites. They sleep in cramped and often unhygienic conditions in the classrooms of several schools, as well as on the campus of Shire University.
Shelter, clean water and food are all in short supply. A 6.30pm curfew has been imposed on the town, making movements to seek medical care after these hours very difficult.
Access to healthcare is also very limited. Our teams in Tigray have documented evidence of widespread, targeted attacks on healthcare facilities across the region; of 106 facilities assessed between mid-December and early March, 87 per cent were no longer functioning or fully functioning.
Looting of facilities is widespread and most staff have left. The once well-functioning healthcare system in Tigray has almost completely collapsed.
As of mid-February 2021, more than 60,000 refugees have been registered by the UN in Sudan; however, MSF teams estimate that some 10,000 to 12,000 refugees are still scattered in and around the border town of Hamdayet.
Here, people are supposed to be relocated to refugee camps within 72 hours, but some have been there for months. Humanitarian assistance in the border town remains substandard; refugees are living in unhygienic and appalling conditions, where their basic needs—food, water, sanitation, shelter—are being barely met. This situation is taking a toll on people, severely affecting their physical and mental health.
From Hamdayet, people are being slowly relocated to Um Rakuba and Al-Tanideba, the two permanent camps in Gedaref state, southern Sudan.
As of mid-February, around 20,000 refugees have been moved to Um Rakuba and more than 17,000 refugees have been relocated to Al-Tanideba. The conditions in the camps are quite poor.