Conflict in Ethiopia: Tigray regions of Ethiopia face ‘horrific’ situation: WHO Chief

May 18 2021 12:17 PM
Conflict in Ethiopia: Tigray regions of Ethiopia face ‘horrific’ situation: WHO Chief

Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray region is facing a horrifying situation with people dying of hunger, health services destroyed and rape “rampant”, according to the World Health Organization chief, who is from the region. Following the situation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, has called for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray and said that humanitarian workers should be granted unfettered access as the "overwhelming" majority of the region's inhabitants need immediate assistance.

Ninety-one percent of the Tigray locals need food aid and many of them are dying of hunger, he said, adding that incidents of rape have also been reported.

Fighting that erupted in November last year in Tigray between the Tigray People's Liberation Front, which used to rule the region, and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces has left thousands of people killed and caused immense losses.

On May 12, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said that military forces were blocking humanitarian access to the local population, further increasing food and health insecurity.

"We need to scale up and coordination and leadership, and we need access" to Tigray, said Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO's Health Emergencies Program. The conflict has seriously increased the risk of cholera and measles as well as the number of Covid-19 cases, according to Ryan.

However, Tedros commented that for the region's population, "Covid is the least of their concerns". "For most of the part, we're not even in a position to discuss Covid, to be honest," he said.

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