We are witnessing ‘hell’ in Tigray, it’s an ‘insult to humanity’: WHO’s Tedros
January 12 , 2022
A child, survivor of an air strike by Ethiopian government forces, receives treatment at the Shire Shul General hospital in the town of Dedebit, in the northern region of Tigray, Ethiopia January 8, 2022. (courtesy: Reuters)
WHO’s chief said on Wednesday the blockade on the Tigray region in war ravaged Ethiopia preventing access to deliver food and medicine has created “hell” and described the situation as an “insult to humanity”.
The year-long war between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has claimed the lives of thousands and displaced more than two million people.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, himself from Tigray, said that all attempts by WHO to gain access to deliver life saving medicines to the war-torn region have been blocked.
“We have approached the prime minister’s office; we have approached the foreign ministry; we have approached all relevant sectors, but no permission,” Tedros told reporters.
He even compared the Ethiopian conflict to the one in Syria and Yemen: “Humanitarian access even in conflict is the basics. Even in Syria, we have access, during the worst of conflicts in Syria. In Yemen, the same, we have access. We deliver medicine. Here [in Tigray] nothing, it’s a complete blockade.”
He added: “I am from that region. I am from Tigray, the northern part of Ethiopia. But I am saying this without any bias… No where in the world you will see a crisis like the one in the northern part of Ethiopia, especially in Tigray.”
“Lack of medicine has direct impact and people are dying, but lack of food also kills. On top of that, daily drone attacks are killing people… and people are living under constant fear. And you can also imagine how that impacts the people’s mental health,” Tedros said.
An airstrike targeted Tigray last week and killed at least 56 civilians, including children, at a camp for displaced people.
Another airstrike killed at least 17 civilians on Tuesday, the very same day US President Joe Biden called Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to express his concern regarding the attacks on civilians and to urge him to work towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict.