The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement on Friday that its mission has accessed two refugee camps in Ethiopia’s Tigray region for the first time since the start of the conflict there five months ago.
“The UN Refugee Agency has gained access to the Shimelba and Hitsats refugee camps in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region for the first time since November 2020, amid ongoing security concerns,” the statement said.
According to the statement, a joint mission conducted by UNHCR and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs found both camps completely destroyed and all the humanitarian facilities looted and vandalized.
The UN Refugee Agency said it was deeply concerned for the well-being of the Eritrean refugees residing in the Hitsats camp, where most of the shelters in one area were burnt to the ground.
Of some 20,000 refugees who lived in the two camps before the conflict, more than 7,000 have reached the other two Eritrean refugee camps Mai Aini and Adi Harush.
The mission also visited the town of Shiraro, where some 95,000 refugees are understood to be scattered in the area and require urgent aid.
The agency said all of the displaced in Shiraro and Shimelba are in need of life-saving assistance and called on all parties to urgently enable the free and safe movement of affected people.