File Photo: Ethiopian refugees in eastern Sudan taken on November 18, 2020. AP
Some 5,000 Ethiopian refugees are expected to cross into Sudan in the coming days, a Sudanese official told AFP on Wednesday, the latest wave fleeing conflict in the Tigray and Amhara regions.
Earlier this week, 3,000 Ethiopians crossed into neighbouring Sudan, taking the total of Ethiopian refugees in the North African nation to nearly 60,000.
"We expect around 5,000 asylum seekers to arrive in the next 48 hours given the escalating fighting," a Sudanese official told AFP in Sudan's eastern Kassala region, close to the Ethiopian border.
Heavy rains have seen the river that marks the border swell with flood waters, with three Ethiopians drowning Tuesday as they tried to cross, the Sudanese official said.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, sent troops into Tigray last November to oust the region's ruling party, a move he said was in response to attacks on federal army camps.
The conflict has already killed thousands of people and more than 400,000 have been pushed into famine, according to United Nations.
Ethiopia's northern Amhara and Tigray regions are embroiled in a decades-old land dispute that has become central to the eight-month-old war in Tigray.
On Friday, the UN's World Food Programme said it was "extremely concerned" about the humanitarian situation in Tigray, where severe shortages of food and supplies are taking their toll.
It called for unimpeded access into Tigray to reach the four million people facing acute food insecurity and needing emergency assistance.