accessibility & help

Ethiopia: how we helped Sudanese refugees

21 October 2013

A group of women sat on the ground

An influx of Sudanese refugees into Ethiopia in 2011 prompted an emergency appeal as the government and aid agencies struggled to cope with the sudden mass population movement.

Having fled fighting in Sudan, the refugees were faced with a shortage of shelter, food, sleeping mats, drinking water and sanitation facilities.

The exodus was triggered after multiple clashes between the Sudanese army and South Sudan militia and rebels in Sudan’s Blue Nile state, which resulted in an estimated 50,000 civilians fleeing their homes.

The British Red Cross pledged £45,024 from our Disaster Fund to assist refugee and host communities following the appeal by the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS).

Relief activities

The British Red Cross pledge helped buy shoes, clothing and blankets for children arriving at the displacement camps in the Benishangul-Gumuz region.

It also helped to buy kitchen sets to care for malnourished children in Tongo refugee camp. In addition, the funding helped pay for:

• 335 family tents in the Banbasi camp, benefitting 1,675 people
• 600 jerry cans to store and carry water
• 1,800 blankets

Water and sanitation

Another important aim of the appeal was to prevent the spread of disease by improving water and sanitation conditions in the Sherkole and Tongo refugee camps. 

Our donation helped support the distribution of 15,000 bars of soap and 57,000 aqua tablets, which were distributed to households in the Tongo camp to purify drinking water.

The pledge also supported two campaigns to promote good hygiene, to prevent the spread of diseases. Key messages were translated for the refugee community in Arabic, Nuer and Ruthana languages.

The ERCS branch music band also communicated key hygiene messages to the refugee community.

Ben Webster, British Red Cross disaster response programme manager, said: “Our primary focus was on the humanitarian needs of the refugees in the camps – ensuring their most basic needs were being met. This included the rapid provision of water and sanitation support.

“Working with Red Cross Movement partners, the donation from our Disaster Fund helped provide valuable resources to families.”


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