Locals are hopeful of an end to the worst of the conflict, but Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has pledged to "repel" the rebels.
Ethiopians voted last week in regional elections marred by a civil war and inter-ethnic violence.
"The old conflicts that divide us are back," one voter told VICE World News.
Images and video footage obtained by VICE World News show multiple young children suffering from severe malnutrition in an overcrowded hospital.
Satellite photos show military actors at the camps right after they were razed; the damage is far more extensive than previously reported.
It comes as minutes seen by VICE World News reveal NGOs fear hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of starvation unless aid agencies are given access to the region.
Refugees tell VICE World News stories of government-aligned militias checking IDs to identify ethnic Tigrayans, as border tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia rise.
The takeover happened last week; hundreds of refugees who escaped violence in Tigray and were staying at the center have since been sent back.
Photos show what life is like in the camps where hundreds of thousands of refugees have brought nothing with them except shocking stories of violence.
As a deadline to surrender expires, regional leaders in Tigray have vowed a fight to the death.
Ethiopia was plunged into crisis Wednesday when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced his government had sent in troops to the restive Tigray region.