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AP PHOTOS: War forces thousands of Ethiopians into Sudan

Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region ride a bus going to the Village 8 temporary shelter, near the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Ham...
Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region carry their belongings off a boat after arriving on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Su...
Shoes left behind belonging to Tigrayan refugees are scattered near the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border after Ethiopian forces ...
Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region arrive on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, eastern ...
People who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region, arrive on a bus at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Thursday, Nov. 26, 20...
Tigrayan refugee children fight over medical masks and sanitizer given out by Maarif Organization in front of a clinic run by Mercy Corps in Umm Rakou...
Ethnic Tigrayan survivor Guesh Tedla, 54, from Rawyan, Ethiopia, shows his wounds from sticks, inside a shelter, in Hamdeyat Transition Center near th...
People who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region, arrive on a bus at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Thursday, Nov. 26, 20...
Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region wait to get cooked rice served by Sudanese local volunteers at Um Rakuba refugee camp in Qa...
Nurses tend to an elderly man inside a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in the Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Monday, Dec. 1...
Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region play volleyball at Um Rakuba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020....
Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region ride a bus going to the Village 8 temporary shelter, near the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Ham...
A woman who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region waits to get treatment at a clinic in Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, We...
Men who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region run to receive cooked rice from charity organization Muslim Aid, at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in ...
Women who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region take shelter inside a UNICEF tent, as Filippo Grandi, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, vis...
Women who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region pray during Sunday Mass at a church, near Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, ...
A boy who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region looks at an Ethiopian priest's Bible during Sunday Mass inside a church, near Umm Rakouba refu...
Tigrinyan refugees who fled Ethiopia's conflict gather their belongings after their arrival from Village 8, the transit center near the Lugdi border c...
Tigrayan refugees who fled the conflict in the Ethiopia's Tigray arrive on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, ea...
Tigrayan refugees arrive on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, eastern Sudan, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo...
A woman who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region holds her malnourished and severely dehydrated baby as nurses give him IV fluids, at the Doc...
The sun sets nears the entrance of Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Sunday Dec. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Men who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region watch the news on a television, at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Saturday,...
A woman who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region holds her child inside of her temporary shelter at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, east...
A Sudanese midwife checks a malnourished pregnant refugee woman from Ethiopia's Tigray region, inside the Mercy Corps clinic at Umm Rakouba refugee ca...
Tigrayan refugee children sing and dance inside a tent run by UNICEF for children's activities, in Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan,...
A Tigrayan refugee mother carries her child as she waits her turn for treatment at a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in Village 8, the transit c...
Tigrayan refugee children play with a rope at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
A Tigrayan refugee man trims his friend's beard at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mof...
Tigrayan refugee men sell goods in their shack to make a living at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Phot...
A worker for Muslim Aid organizes Tigrayan refugees waiting in line to receive cooked rice and lentils, at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, easter...
Tigrayan refugees who fled Ethiopia's conflict, prepare to cook their dinners in front of their temporary shelters, at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qad...
Tigrayan refugees who fled Ethiopia's conflict arrive from Village 8, the transit center near the Lugdi border crossing, at Umm Rakouba refugee camp i...
Ethnic Tigrayan survivor Abrahaley Minasbo, 22, from Mai-Kadra, Ethiopia, shows his wounds from machetes, inside a shelter, in Hamdeyat Transition Cen...

Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region ride a bus going to the Village 8 temporary shelter, near the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Ham...

Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region carry their belongings off a boat after arriving on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Su...

Shoes left behind belonging to Tigrayan refugees are scattered near the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border after Ethiopian forces ...

Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region arrive on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, eastern ...

People who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region, arrive on a bus at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Thursday, Nov. 26, 20...

Tigrayan refugee children fight over medical masks and sanitizer given out by Maarif Organization in front of a clinic run by Mercy Corps in Umm Rakou...

Ethnic Tigrayan survivor Guesh Tedla, 54, from Rawyan, Ethiopia, shows his wounds from sticks, inside a shelter, in Hamdeyat Transition Center near th...

People who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region, arrive on a bus at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Thursday, Nov. 26, 20...

Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region wait to get cooked rice served by Sudanese local volunteers at Um Rakuba refugee camp in Qa...

Nurses tend to an elderly man inside a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in the Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Monday, Dec. 1...

Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region play volleyball at Um Rakuba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020....

Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region ride a bus going to the Village 8 temporary shelter, near the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Ham...

A woman who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region waits to get treatment at a clinic in Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, We...

Men who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region run to receive cooked rice from charity organization Muslim Aid, at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in ...

Women who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region take shelter inside a UNICEF tent, as Filippo Grandi, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, vis...

Women who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region pray during Sunday Mass at a church, near Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, ...

A boy who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region looks at an Ethiopian priest's Bible during Sunday Mass inside a church, near Umm Rakouba refu...

Tigrinyan refugees who fled Ethiopia's conflict gather their belongings after their arrival from Village 8, the transit center near the Lugdi border c...

Tigrayan refugees who fled the conflict in the Ethiopia's Tigray arrive on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, ea...

Tigrayan refugees arrive on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, eastern Sudan, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo...

A woman who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region holds her malnourished and severely dehydrated baby as nurses give him IV fluids, at the Doc...

The sun sets nears the entrance of Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Sunday Dec. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Men who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region watch the news on a television, at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Saturday,...

A woman who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region holds her child inside of her temporary shelter at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, east...

A Sudanese midwife checks a malnourished pregnant refugee woman from Ethiopia's Tigray region, inside the Mercy Corps clinic at Umm Rakouba refugee ca...

Tigrayan refugee children sing and dance inside a tent run by UNICEF for children's activities, in Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan,...

A Tigrayan refugee mother carries her child as she waits her turn for treatment at a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in Village 8, the transit c...

Tigrayan refugee children play with a rope at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

A Tigrayan refugee man trims his friend's beard at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mof...

Tigrayan refugee men sell goods in their shack to make a living at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Phot...

A worker for Muslim Aid organizes Tigrayan refugees waiting in line to receive cooked rice and lentils, at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, easter...

Tigrayan refugees who fled Ethiopia's conflict, prepare to cook their dinners in front of their temporary shelters, at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qad...

Tigrayan refugees who fled Ethiopia's conflict arrive from Village 8, the transit center near the Lugdi border crossing, at Umm Rakouba refugee camp i...

Ethnic Tigrayan survivor Abrahaley Minasbo, 22, from Mai-Kadra, Ethiopia, shows his wounds from machetes, inside a shelter, in Hamdeyat Transition Cen...

They took with them with donkeys and beds and motorcycles and colorful cloths that they now drape over pipes to create shelters. Others left their shoes behind as they crossed a river to safety.

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians who just weeks ago were contemplating the harvest season now huddle in refugee camps in Sudan. They ran from fields and homes and hospital rooms as months of tensions between Ethiopia’s government and that of its defiant Tigray region erupted into deadly fighting.

Some walked for days to reach the border, and once they did, they were packed into buses or trucks for an arduous, 11-hour journey to a camp. As one vehicle left, a baby cried hysterically, and his brother held the infant toward the window for fresh air, explaining that the child was hungry and dehydrated and the bus too crowded.

Once at the camp, they wait. For food, for word from loved ones, for water. Some crowd around a tap for hours before they can fill up their buckets. Children as young as 7 struggle to lift the heavy jugs onto their backs.

Many arrived malnourished. One woman, who is 9 months pregnant, weighed just 45 kilograms (100 pounds). She wept when she saw the number on the scale. Another received a nutrition packet but couldn’t manage to eat it.

The Tigray region remains largely cut off from the world, but still many of the refugees surround a small TV screen in the hopes of learning what might be happening back home. For many, it's their only source of information since they lost cell phones along the way.

As they watch the news, some of the young ethnic Tigrayan men say they hope to go back to fight for their homeland. Others fear they might never return: They tell of soldiers raiding their homes, beating them and neighbors in the street and leaving them for dead. Witnesses have said that hundreds of people were massacred in the town of Mai-Kadra, targeted because of their ethnicity — though there are conflicting accounts of who killed whom.

When night falls, the mood changes. The oppressive heat lifts. The aid workers go home. Kids dance to pop music, teens gather to drink coffee and smoke water pipes, and adults discuss politics. One man hopes that one day Tigray will secede from Ethiopia.

"I do not identify as Ethiopian; I am Tigray,” said Hayle Mariam, a 25-year-old refugee. “When a married couple cannot continue, what do they do? They get a divorce — we need our divorce from Ethiopia.”


Updated : 2021-01-19 14:47 GMT+08:00