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Germany to help move Eritrean refugees

[Ethiopia] Wa'ala Nihibi refugee camp for eritreans
Wa'ala Nihibi refugee camp (irin)

The German government has pledged € 250,000 to help move thousands of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia away from the border between the two countries.

The money, provided to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), comes as both countries prepare for the twice-postponed demarcation of the border next month.

“In Ethiopia, € 250,000 is being made available to the UNHCR for the resettlement of Eritrean refugees from refugee camps near the border to the country's interior,” the German embassy in Addis Ababa said.

The move follows increasing calls to relocate the refugees - many of whom fled during the bitter two-year war between the countries - from the border area for their “protection and emotional safety.”

Fighting erupted in May 1998 over a border dispute and formally ended with a peace deal in December 2000 – with a new internationally recognised border part of the agreement.

UNHCR has told IRIN a new site has been identified for the Eritrean refugees, although preparation work for their arrival still has to be completed.

The existing camp Wa'ala Nihibi, only 20 km from the existing border, is home to around 4,000 ethnic Kunama and over 1,000 other Eritreans.

The new camp is Idaga Hibret – which is more than 50 km from the border - but it still needs extra facilities like good access, water and shelter.

UNHCR and the Ethiopian government’s Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs will oversee the move.

The German government also announced € 500,000 for an emergency food for work project in Ethiopia's drought-hit Afar Region.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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