The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – himself an ethnic Tigrayan – described the crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region as “the worst disaster on Earth”.
“I haven’t heard in the last few months any head of state talking about the Tigray situation anywhere in the developed world. Anywhere. Why?” Tedros asked. “Maybe the reason is the colour of the skin of the people in Tigray.”
He described the situation caused by the conflict in his home country as worse than any other humanitarian crisis in the world.
“Nowhere in the world you would see this level of cruelty, where it’s a government that punishes six million of its people for more than 21 months,” the WHO chief said. “The only thing we ask is, ‘Can the world come back to its senses and uphold humanity?’”
In a sign of just how cut-off Tigray has been, a Covid-19 vaccination campaign was finally launched at the region’s flagship hospital only in July, an improvement from a months-long period of deprivation in which hospital workers described running out of essential medicines and trying to treat wounds with warm salt water. It was the first Covid-19 vaccination campaign in Tigray.