Tigray is under what the United Nations calls a de facto blockade, preventing millions from accessing life-saving medicines and food.
World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the blockade, which prevented medicines and other life-saving supplies from reaching Tigray, Ethiopia, created “hell” in the war-torn region and was “an affront to humanity”.
“Nowhere in the world have we witnessed hell like we did in Tigray,” Ghebreyesus, from Ethiopia’s northern region, said on Wednesday.
“It is so horrific and unimaginable in this part of the 21st century, when a government deprives its own people of food and medicine and the viability of others for more than a year,” he told reporters.
Fighting between forces loyal to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its allies has killed thousands and forced millions since it erupted in November 2020. leave home.
Tigray is in what the United Nations calls de facto blockade This is preventing life-saving medicines and food from reaching millions, including hundreds of thousands in famine-like conditions.
Tedros said the situation was “desperate”.
“I’m from that region,” he said, but added, “I say this without prejudice. The situation is serious…Imagine a complete lockdown of seven million people for over a year. And no food. No medicine, no Medicine. No electricity. No telecommunications. No media,” he said.
He also stressed that now almost every day there are fatal drone attack in war-torn areas.
He added that while the WHO is allowed to ship medicines and medicines to other parts of Ethiopia, it has not allowed any shipments of medicines to Tigray since last July.
He said doctors in the area were forced to use expired medicines — and even those medicines were running out.
“Humanitarian access must always be allowed, even during conflict. Conflict cannot be an excuse,” he insisted, noting that even at the height of the devastating conflict in Syria and Yemen, the UN health agency was always able to reach out to those in need people provide assistance.
WHO’s emergencies chief Michael Ryan also condemned the dire situation, saying it left many people “without access to very basic life-saving interventions”.
Essential insulin and other diabetes treatments have been banned from Tigray since the middle of last year, he said, warning that this leaves medical staff unable to “manage the disease’s worst complications” and could cause “catastrophic consequences”. , looming health consequences”.
“In my opinion, it is an insult to our humanity to allow this to continue and not allow entry,” he told reporters.