UN warns of humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia

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The United Nations agency for refugees said it was worried about a refugee emergency if more civilians are forced to flee fighting between federal troops and local forces in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, the agency’s representative in the country said on Thursday.

Sudan has received more than 10,000 Ethiopian refugees since the fighting started and aid agencies say the situation in Tigray is getting dire.

The UN is negotiating with both sides in the conflict for humanitarian corridors to be opened, Ann Encontre, UNHCR’s representative in Ethiopia, told Reuters in an interview.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday federal troops had “liberated” the western part of Tigray region.

But with the region cut off to the outside world, DW has been unable to independently verify the Ethiopian government’s claims.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which rules the northern state of more than 5 million people, has not commented on the statement.

Abiy, who at 44 is Africa’s youngest leader, has so far resisted calls by the United Nations, the African Union and others for an immediate cease-fire and negotiations.