The Tigray region of Ethiopia has been under siege for two years, with at least 600,000 dead since civil war broke out between local forces and the Ethiopian government along with its allies in Eritrea.
Among the dead are combatants killed in military operations, civilians deliberately targeted against them, and people who perished due to lack of food or essential services.
the exact The extent of casualties is difficult to quantify, as Ethiopia is one of the most difficult places in the world to report. Access to the region by international journalists and observers is extremely limited. But even the limited news from the region is dire. In July, a UN special rapporteur (link in French) found that thousands of men, women and children were forcibly recruited by the Ethiopian government and relocated to the Tigray front. common pits have been found in the region, with the BBC reporting that people are dying so fast that hyenas have eaten carcasses before they could be buried.
Even when the peace talks finally start in south africathe situation remains dire. Health services, in particular, have been so disrupted in the region that there is almost no access to treatment for common conditions such as tuberculosis, diabetes, hypertension or HIV. “These diseases, which can be treated elsewhere, are now a death sentence in Tigray,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization (WHO). on October 19.
Cutting off access to health care as a tactic of genocide
Tedros, who is from the Tigray region and still has family there, has been talking about the crisis since it began, repeatedly accusing the international community of not paying attention or showing concern. “Maybe the reason is the color of people’s skin,” she said. said in august.
According to Genocide SurveillanceEthiopia actively participates in the genocide of Tigrayans, committing at least three of the classic stages of genocide: organization, extermination (including for mass rape with the intention of “cleaning the bloodline”) and denial (Ethiopia does not admit any atrocity in the region). Both human rights monitor Y Doctors without borders They have denounced vandalism in health establishments and looting of medicines, which has lent the few remaining facilities unable to provide services.
Around 6 million people in the region continue to face enormous risks, and the destruction of health care infrastructure is used as a weapon of war against them. An analysis published in November 2021 in the british medical journal found that the region’s health system had has essentially been decimated. of about 1,000 health centers and smaller outposts present in the region before the crisis began, only 14 remained operational six months after the conflict began.
doctors operating in the capital of Tigray, Mekelle, do not have basic supplies such as IV fluids or common antibiotics. Even simple conditions can turn deadly under such circumstances. Access to food and hygiene is also very limited.
Tigray’s health care crisis has become a contributing factor to the ongoing genocide in the region, where even people that are not be killed because of their ethnic origin they let themselves die because of it.