Displaced people near a makeshift camp in Erebti in the Afar region on June 9, 2022. It is the only passage for humanitarian convoys to Tigray. EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP
The WHO on Wednesday, August 17, issued a cry of alarm over the humanitarian situation in Tigray, “the worst disaster in the world” and accused the leaders of developed countries of neglecting the crisis in this region of Ethiopia, the scene of a deadly conflict between government and rebels.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has denounced “unimaginable atrocities” being inflicted on the six million people in this region of northern Ethiopia, whose authorities are at odds with the federal government.
Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers “In Ethiopia, a policy of ethnic cleansing marked by atrocities quietly continues in Tigray”
The conflict began in November 2020 when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military operation in the region to overthrow the rebel Tigray authorities of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), accusing them of attacking federal army camps.
Since the beginning of the conflict, the region has suffered from food shortages and access to basic services such as electricity, telecommunications and banks has been severely restricted.
Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers “Tigray went back forty years”: how the war in Ethiopia brought the region to its knees
A member of a militia opposed to the Ethiopian government, December 5, 2021. AMANUEL SILESHI / AFP
“Result: The people of Tigray are facing multiple epidemics of malaria, anthrax, cholera, diarrhea and other” diseases, lamented Mr. Tedros, himself from Tigray, at a press conference in Geneva.
This situation of “unimaginable cruelty must end. The only solution is peace,” emphasized the WHO chief and called on the Ethiopian government to resolve the conflict “peacefully”. Fighting has calmed down since a humanitarian ceasefire was declared in late March, allowing international aid convoys to resume in Tigray.
But according to Mr Tedros, food and medicines only arrive in the region in droplets and droplets. Essential services need to be restored to restore confidence for peace negotiations, he said.
The WHO director-general also suggested that discrimination and racism could explain why the situation in Tigray drags on in indifference despite being “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”.
“Perhaps the reason lies in the color of the Tigrayans’ skin. In recent months I have not heard any head of state mention the situation in Tigray, particularly in the developed world. Why ? I think we know that. It is the worst catastrophe in the world as I speak to you (…). That’s the absolute truth,” he said. The drought in the Horn of Africa is exacerbating the crisis, he added.
In order not to miss any news from Africa, subscribe to the “Monde Afrique” newsletter via this link. Find news and debates covered by the editorial staff of “Monde Afrique” every Saturday at 6am for a week.