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The WHO has criticized the “unimaginable cruelty” inflicted on Tigray

#criticized #unimaginable #cruelty #inflicted #Tigray

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday branded the “man-made disaster” in Ethiopia’s Tigray region as the “world’s worst disaster” – and criticized global leaders for overlooking the humanitarian crisis.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “unimaginable atrocities” had been inflicted on six million people in the northern region, who were effectively cut off from basic services for almost two years.

Tedros, who hails from Tigray himself, suggested that racism may be why the situation is lagging behind Ukraine in terms of international attention despite being “the worst humanitarian crisis”.

In November 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered troops into the region to overthrow the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, accusing rebels of attacking federal army camps.

Since the outbreak of war, Ethiopia’s northernmost region has suffered from food shortages and severely restricted access to basic services such as electricity, communications and banking.

“As a result, the people of Tigray are facing multiple outbreaks of malaria, anthrax, cholera, diarrhea and more,” Tedros said at a WHO news conference in Geneva.

“This unimaginable cruelty must end. The only solution is peace.”

Fighting in northern Ethiopia has eased since a humanitarian ceasefire was declared in late March, allowing much-needed international aid convoys to resume in Tigray.

In recent weeks, both sides have been discussing the possibility of peace talks.

But Tedros said only a trickle of food and medicine had reached the region and said basic services needed to resume to build confidence in the peace talks.

“How can peace talks be held when six million people have been suffocated?” he said and put his hand around his neck.

Tedros suggested that without world leaders putting pressure on Ethiopia and its northern neighbor Eritrea, whose armed forces supported the Ethiopian army, discrimination might explain why the crisis continued.

“Perhaps the reason lies in the skin color of the people of Tigray. I haven’t even heard a head of state speak about the Tigray state anywhere in the last few months, especially in the developed world. Why? I think we know,” Tedros said.

“This is the worst catastrophe on earth as we speak… That’s the bare truth.”

He said the drought in the Horn of Africa was compounding the crisis.

“I appeal to the Ethiopian government to resolve this peacefully. The ball is in their hands,” said the country’s former health and foreign minister.

Soce Fall, WHO’s deputy director-general for emergency response, said restoring the health system in Tigray would take “months and months” with current needs far from being met before recovery could even be talked about.

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