An Ethiopian refugee who fled fighting in Tigray province is pictured at a reception centre in Sudan's eastern Gedaref province, on November 17, 2020. Photo AFP

The United Nations is warning of a full-scale humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia and neighboring areas.

“Even before the current hostilities, nearly a million people in Tigray, and millions more who live in close proximity to its regional and national boundaries, were in need of humanitarian assistance”, said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, on Ethiopia

 According to reports from the United Nations high commission for refugees, since last week, an average of 4,000 people per day have crossed the border into Sudan.

“Our humanitarian priorities in the region are the protection of civilians, including children; preventing gender-based violence; and getting food, clean water, and health care to those who need it, including civilians displaced by ongoing hostilities”, added the statement released by  Mark Lowcock.

NG’s operating in the region are calling for the US government to take a leadership role in support of diplomatic efforts to end the conflict before it spirals out of control.

“The UN is engaging with the Government and relevant authorities to facilitate immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access. We are committed to staying and delivering humanitarian assistance”, concluded Mark Lowcok.

Around 25,000 Ethiopians fleeing conflict in the Tigray region have crossed into neighboring Sudan, state news agency SUNA reported, as the UN said it was working to find them shelter.

 he current conflict is rooted in long-standing tension between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Ethiopia’s central government.