Ethiopians fleeing war in the northern Tigray region crossed a river into neighbouring Sudan – some in boats, some swimming, others wading through the water.
Um Rakuba camp in the Sudanese border town of Hamdayet is hosting 8,000 refugees. Built in the 1980s and closed in the 2000s, the camp was reopened on Friday with space for 20,000 people.
Several hundred arrived on Saturday with hundreds more crowded onto the rocky bank of the Tekeze River.
Refugees told stories of artillery attacks and shooting in the streets with fighting spilling over into Ethiopia’s Amhara state neighbouring Tigray.
“We are hungry and we’re afraid that they will kill us,” said an old woman, referring to government troops battling the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
She spoke moments after paying the owner of a small boat 30 Ethiopian biir ($0.80) to bring her across the river, while women and children were seen swimming across. Refugees said one person drowned while trying to cross the night before.
Sudanese officials were registering refugees.
“People are hungry and the flow of refugees is continuing but we have little to offer,” said Salah Ramadan, head of the border town’s administration.
Mubarak Abdallah, a 28-year old Sudanese farmer, said food supplies in the local market were dwindling.
Hundreds of people have been killed since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the national defence forces on an offensive against local troops in Tigray last week, accusing them of attacking federal troops.