The dangers of searching for food
Refugees in Hamdayet are provided the same hot meals of porridge and lentils every day. The portions are small, and though people are supposed to receive food twice daily there is often not enough to go around.
“Sometimes the food runs out before all the people have received their portion,” says Medhin, a 60-year-old refugee in the temporary camp.
Meanwhile the refugees desperately look for other means to feed their families. Some people have chosen to endanger their lives going back and forth across the border to find food, or bring firewood from Tigray that they can sell in Sudan.
“In search for food I crossed the river to Humera, in the Tigray region, to bring back food,” says a refugee in Hamdayet. “I know it is dangerous, but I would rather die trying to get food than starve.”
MSF teams have been providing medical screenings at the Hamdayet border crossing points and basic health care in the town for both refugees and residents since November. Last week, MSF found that an alarming 14 percent of pregnant and lactating women are malnourished.
This week people finally received dry food rations of sorghum, legumes, oil, and salt and have been able to cook for themselves. But it remains unclear if distributions of rations will continue for people stranded in Hamdayet, or if they’ll receive regular monthly food distributions once they are relocated to permanent camps.