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Sudan opens new camp for Ethiopian refugees, as coronavirus hit some of them

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An Ethiopian woman who fled the fighting in Tigray region carries her child near the Setit river on the Sudan-Ethiopia border on 23 Nov 2020 (Reutres photo)January 3, 2021 (GADAREF) - The Sudanese authorities opened a new camp for Ethiopian refugees on Sunday in Altindeba area of Gedaref state, which coincides with the confirmation of coronavirus cases among the resident of Um Rakuba camp.

The Sudanese authorities began transferring refugees to the Altindeba camp at the rate of 500 refugees per day from the Hashaba reception centre on the border with Ethiopia.

Initially, it had been planned to transfer 1000 refugees per day, but the recording of COVID-19 cases in the Um Rakuba camp pushed the authorities to reconsider their plans to avoid the spread of the respiratory disease in the new camp.

The Altindeba camp can accommodate about 30,000 refugees, while the Umm Rakuba camp has a capacity of 25,000 residents.

According to health workers, the patients who are tested positive in Um Rabuka were transferred to an isolation centre. Residents who were in contact with the patients were tested. Also, safety equipment including masks and sterilizers have distributed to refugees.

The continuing clashes between the federal army and the Tigray rebels led to an increase in the number of refugees fleeing to Sudan.

The number of refugees who crossed into eastern Sudan until Saturday was 61,816 refugees. Nowadays, the Hamdayet Center of Kassala hosts 28,172 refugees, in addition to 14,429 in Hashaba camp.

In statements to the Sudan Tribune, al-Fatih Hamdeen, director of the emergency services for refugee in Gedaref said that Altindeba camp had been prepared to receive refugees with housing, stores for food and other non-food items, in addition to a water station and toilets with the contribution of 13 international organizations.

Hamdeen referred to social distancing measures to protect refugees from the coronavirus saying that only 30 passengers allowed to board the bus from the centre to the camp, especially since the distance between Hashaba and Altindeba camp is about 500 km.

He said that the transfer of refugees will continue for a period of two months. As of 4th of January, there will be two trips per day from Hamdayet and Hashaba reception centres.

(ST)

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