Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Tigray is among what the United Nations calls a de facto blockade that prevents life-saving medicines and food from reaching millions.

A blockade preventing medicines and other life-saving supplies from reaching Ethiopia’s Tigray has created ‘hell’ in the war-torn region and is ‘an insult to our humanity’, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization.

“Nowhere in the world are we witnessing hell like in Tigray,” Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday – himself from the northern Ethiopian region.

It is “so horrible and unthinkable during this time, the 21st century, when a government denies its own people food and medicine for more than a year and the rest to survive,” he told reporters.

The fighting between forces loyal to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and their allies has killed thousands of people and forced several millions out of their homes since it erupted in November 2020.

Tigray is among what the United Nations calls a de facto blockade it prevents life-saving medicines and food from reaching millions, including hundreds of thousands in starvation conditions.

Tedros said the situation was “desperate”.

“I’m from that region,” he said, but added that “I say this without prejudice. The situation is serious… Imagine a complete blockade of seven million people for more than a year. And there is no food “There is no medication, no medicine. No electricity. No telecommunications. No media,” he said.

He also stressed that there were now almost daily fatalities drone strikes on the war-torn region.

He added that although the WHO has been allowed to send medicines and medicines to other regions of Ethiopia, it has not been allowed to send them to Tigray since July last year.

Doctors in the region were forced to use drugs that had expired – and even those were running out, he said.

“Humanitarian access must be allowed at all times, even during conflict. Conflict can not be an excuse, ”he insisted, pointing out that even at the height of the devastating conflicts in Syria and Yemen, the UN health agency could still provide assistance to those in need.

WHO emergency chief Michael Ryan also rejected the dire situation, saying it had left many “no access to the very basic life-saving interventions”.

Basic insulin and other diabetes treatments have not been allowed in Tigray since the middle of last year, he said, warning that it has not enabled medical workers to manage “the most serious complications” of the disease, with potential ” catastrophic, threatening health consequences “. .

“From my perspective, it is an insult to our humanity to allow a situation like this to continue, to allow no access,” he told reporters.

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