Leaving everything behind in Ethiopia

Heavily pregnant, Nigsty walked for three days straight, but, thankfully, delivered her baby girl in Sudan, where it was safe. Displaced families from Ethiopia’s Tigray Region have encountered unimaginable obstacles to reach safety.  



Nigsty was enjoying her life at home as a housewife with her husband, who worked on a farm as a truck driver. When conflict erupted in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Nigsty and her husband were forced to leave everything they knew behind.

At a time when she would have been resting and looking forward to the arrival of her child, Nigsty was subjected to unimaginable hardship and loss.  

Nigsty recalls, “When I fled, I was hungry and tired.” 

Despite being heavily pregnant at the time, Nigsty had to embark on a three-day trek to safety. Due to the strain, she fell sick during the three-day journey and was increasingly worried about her unborn child. 

“I was so scared – my stomach was in pain and the situation was very hard. I did not expect to deliver my baby safely,” adds Nigsty, who delivered a baby girl just days after arriving in the camp. 

Though grateful for finding safety in Sudan, she is worried about her extended family, who are unaware of her whereabouts or that she has even delivered the baby. 

“How will they know? I don’t even know where they are. There is no phone or internet – everything is closed,” she cries.  

“We are worried about them, we don’t know whether they are alive or not.” 

Recently, the influx of families crossing the border into Sudan has eased considerably, with fewer arrivals per day since January. However, the situation within Ethiopia’s Tigray Region remains volatile, with reports detailing intense ongoing fighting. 

UNHCR is working with authorities in Sudan to provide lifesaving assistance to the thousands of Ethiopian women, children and men arriving in search of refuge. UNHCR and the Sudanese Commissioner for Refugees are screening and registering new arrivals, and temporarily sheltering them in transit centres located near the border entry points.  

Water and meals are being provided, as well as health screening, including for COVID-19. 


Helping families like Nigsty’s who’ve had to flee conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region is easier than you think. To donate to help families like Nigsty’s, please visit this page.  

For the latest facts and figures on displaced families in Ethiopia, visit the UNHCR data portal. 

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