Rapid Research: Humanitarian Crisis in Ethiopia & Eastern Sudan

“You are going to die and we’re taking your property.” – from a refugee’s account of fleeing conflict in Tigray

A humanitarian crisis is escalating rapidly in Eastern Sudan and Ethiopia’s Tigray State as a result of ongoing conflict between Ethiopian federal forces and the Tigray state forces. According to the UNHCR, more than 50,000 Ethiopian refugees crossed into Sudan between November 7 and December 15, 2020. Almost half (45%) of those fleeing the violence are children. 

When the crisis erupted in Ethiopia’s Tigray State in November 2020, Sayara deployed its research network to reach out to refugees coming across the border and document their experiences. 

We have prepared a research brief as the result of in-depth interviews with Tigrayan refugees who have recently arrived in Sudan through Hamdayet in Kassala State, Sudan. Sayara developed a short qualitative interview guide and worked closely with a local expert to identify ten recently arrived refugees for in-depth phone interviews about their experiences. All Sayara’s work is based on a conflict-sensitive ‘Do No Harm’ approach. Given the refugees’ recent experiences of violence and displacement, our interview guide and research process were designed to ensure confidentiality, avoid retraumatizing participants, and prevent any undue risk. 

Download the research brief here, which includes recommendations for humanitarian actors, the government of Sudan, regional bodies, and other influential stakeholders to take action to address the crisis and the most urgent needs of those affected. 

To get in touch with our team regarding this research, please contact us here.

If you can, please donate to one of the organizations providing much-needed assistance. The International Rescue Committee is supplying critical medical supplies, clean water, and sanitation. 


[Photo: Mark Warne-Smith]