Refugees from Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Left Medications Behind
November 30, 2020
The conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region has pushed tens of thousands of people into refugee camps in Sudan, where aid groups are struggling to provide care. One Tigrayan doctor who fled the fighting has set up a clinic in Hashaba refugee camp in Al Qadarif, Sudan, from where Naba Mohiedeen reports.
Ethiopian federal forces captured the Tigrayan capital of Mekelle at the weekend, but a vow by the rebel regional government to fight on means there’s no end in sight to the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
Among those most at risk are 96,000 Eritrean refugees sheltering in four camps in Tigray, cut off from desperately needed relief supplies.
“We are surrounded by war, and we can’t move,” one Eritrean refugee told The New Humanitarian from Mai-Aini camp.
Unlike most places in the region – where communications have been blacked out by the Ethiopian government – Mai-Aini, located in southern Tigray, has at least some mobile phone coverage.
Pastor Dereje Haileyesus is watching the situation unfold in his native Ethiopia with concern. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled conflict in the country to search for safety in neighbouring countries. Haileyesus would like to help these, and all, people fleeing conflict but is unable to do so. Despite his church, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church in Ottawa, being a Sponsorship Agreement Holder, he is unable to help.
“Personally, I’m very very sad about the situation,” Haileyesus told NCM. “Canada values all lives, even dogs and pets. But human beings [around the world] are dying.”
Brussels fears that Ethiopia’s internal conflict could spiral out of control, dragging in neighbouring countries.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Widespread conflict in Ethiopia that has driven tens of thousands of refugees from their homes, killed hundreds — possibly thousands — and dragged in neighbouring countries is prompting questions in Europe about whether to hold back tens of millions of euros in aid to the country.
On Tuesday, Europe’s crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarčič will fly to Ethiopia where he hopes to convince the country’s Peace Minister, Muferiat Kamil, to end a weeks-old blockade for international aid organizations to Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. He will then fly to Sudan on Wednesday where he will meet Sudanese government officials before visiting refugees in Kassala and Gedarif states on Thursday. Sudan is a temporary home for approximately 45,000 refugees who have fled the conflict.
“I wish to urge the Ethiopian authorities one more time to enable full and unrestricted access of humanitarian workers and humanitarian aid to all areas affected by fighting,” Lenarčič told POLITICO on Monday, recalling that Ethiopia hosts the second largest refugee population in Africa. “I intend to raise this issue with the Ethiopian Minister for Peace whom I hope to meet in Addis Ababa en route to Sudan.”
The following is attributable to Principal Deputy Spokesperson Cale Brown:
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed today regarding the conflict in Tigray. Secretary Pompeo took note of the Government of Ethiopia’s November 28 announcement of the end of major military operations, but reiterated the United States’ grave concern regarding ongoing hostilities and the risks the conflict poses. The Secretary called for a complete end to the fighting and constructive dialogue to resolve the crisis. He stressed the willingness of the United States, the African Union envoys and other international partners to assist in dialogue and reconciliation. The Secretary underscored the importance of protecting civilians from further harm, including refugees and civilians fleeing the conflict into Sudan, and allowing international humanitarian organizations access to the Tigray region to ensure the unhindered flow of humanitarian assistance to those in need. He urged the Government of Ethiopia to ensure respect for human rights of Tigrayans and all ethnic groups. Secretary Pompeo highlighted the United States’ strong partnership with Ethiopia, our continued support for Ethiopia’s historic reform agenda, and the importance of Ethiopia’s role in promoting prosperity and stability on the Horn of Africa.
I spoke with Ethiopian Prime Minister @AbiyAhmedAli today and urged a complete end to the fighting in Tigray, a start to dialogue, and free, safe, unhindered humanitarian access. It is essential to resolve the ongoing conflict and keep Ethiopia on the path to democracy.
Nov 29, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — A few hours after the Ethiopian Prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, declared victory over Mekelle city, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front launched at least two new missiles into the Eritrean capital of Asmara.
Image of a past explosion in Asmara, Eritrea(Photo credit: courtesy of Reuters)
According to the US embassy, there were about six explosions which exploded in Asmara at around 10.13 pm on Saturday evening.
Two Addis Ababa-based diplomats confirmed that multiple rockets fired on Saturday night appeared to have targeted Asmara’s airport and military installations although it remains to be verified where they landed and what damage they might have caused.
Hirut Zemene, Ethopia’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU
The EU has expressed deep concerns about the situation in the Tigray region in Ethiopia and called on the central government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a former member of the government coalition, to end the hostilities there and return to dialogue on a peaceful solution.
Debretsion Gebremichael, the leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, said on Sunday (Monday AEDT), that his forces had regained control of Axum, a city the federal army took a week ago. They also shot down a MiG-23 aircraft and had its pilot in custody, he said by text message.
“The Prime Minister said yesterday their mission is complete, but he was caught today bombing Tigray,” Debretsion said. “We’ll take back all towns based on our plan. The initiative is ours now.”
TPLF leader says his forces shot down plane and retook a key town a day after Ethiopia declared an end to Tigray offensive.
30 Nov 2020
Rebel forces from Ethiopia’s Tigray region claimed they shot down a military plane and retook a town from federal forces on Sunday, a day after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared victory in the northern region.
Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), told the Reuters news agency in a text message that his forces also captured the pilot of the military plane.
Together with the @EthioRedCross, we have been evacuating the injured and deceased in #Mekelle, Ethiopia, and visiting medical facilities there.
29 NOVEMBER 2020
International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva)
By ICRC Africa
Addis Ababa — A day after fighting around the Tigray state capital Mekelle, local hospitals and health facilities are running dangerously low on medical supplies to care for the wounded as well as other mounting medical needs and conditions.
Red Cross warns of influx of trauma patients and says hospitals are running dangerously low on supplies as UN calls for humanitarian access to Tigray to be granted soon.
29 Nov 2020
Hospitals and health facilities in the capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray region are struggling to care for people wounded in a weeks-long conflict as medical supplies run dangerously low, an aid group has warned.
In a rare report from inside the northern city of Mekelle on Sunday, a day after Ethiopia declared victory in its operation against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said some 80 percent of patients at Ayder Referral Hospital have trauma injuries.
ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI (Reuters) – Rebellious forces from Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray said they had shot down a military plane and retaken a town from federal forces on Sunday, a day after the prime minister announced federal troops had taken over the regional capital and military operations were complete.
There was no immediate comment from the government or the military on the claims made by Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in text messages to Reuters.
ADDIS ABABA, Nov 29 (Reuters) – The leader of rebellious forces from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region said on Sunday in a text message to Reuters that his fighters had retaken the town of Axum from the federal military.
Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), made the claim a day after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the military had taken the Tigray regional capital Mekelle and completed its operation.
There was no immediate comment from the Ethiopian government or military.
Rebellious forces from Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray said they had shot down a military plane and retaken a town from federal forces on Sunday, a day after the prime minister announced federal troops had taken over the regional capital and military operations were complete
Leader of Tigray forces says they shot down Ethiopian military plane
By Reuters Staff
NAIROBI (Reuters) – The leader of the rebellious forces in Ethiopia’s Tigray region told Reuters in a text message that his forces had shot down an Ethiopian military plane on Sunday and captured the pilot, a day after the government announced its military operation in the region was over.
Debretsion Gebremichael said in a message that the pilot “was on a mission to bomb”.
There was no immediate comment from the Ethiopian government or military. The government has previously said it only bombs military targets.
Claims from all sides have been difficult to verify as phone and internet links to Tigray have been down and access has been tightly controlled since fighting erupted on Nov. 4 between Ethiopian troops and the Tigrayan forces.
Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: What does it mean for the east Africa region?
Fighting between Ethiopia’s central government and its northern Tigray region is threating stability beyond its borders. If the conflict turns into a prolonged war it has the potential to destabilise the entire Horn of Africa region, with dire consequences for millions of people.
The BBC’s correspondents across the east Africa region explain the impact for Ethiopia and its neighbours.
In a text message to Reuters, TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael did not directly comment on the situation on the ground, but said of the government forces: “Their brutality can only add [to] our resolve to fight these invaders to the last.”
He added: “This is about defending our right to self-determination.”
An earlier TPLF statement, reported by AFP, urged “the international community to condemn the artillery and warplane attacks and massacres being committed”.
It also accused the Eritrean government of involvement in the attack on Mekelle.
Analysts say the TPLF could now be preparing to return to the mountains to launch a guerrilla war against the federal government.
Pope Francis has appealed for an end to violence and the restoration of peace in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, as the Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, announced an assault on the regional capital.
In a statement released by the Holy See Press Office this evening, (Friday) Pope Francis voiced his concern for the situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, and surrounding areas. Matteo Bruni, Press Office Director, said the Pope is following news of the conflict closely.
The statement reads: “Because of the violence, hundreds of civilians have died and tens of thousands of people are forced to flee their homes to Sudan. During the Angelus on 8 November, Pope Francis, referring to the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia, said: ‘While I urge that the temptation of an armed conflict be rejected, I invite everyone to prayer and to fraternal respect, to dialogue and to a peaceful resolution to the disagreements.’”
The Pope also lamented the worsening humanitarian situation.
“The Holy Father, in calling for prayer for this country, appeals to the parties to the conflict to stop the violence, to protect all lives, especially those of civilians, and to restore peace to the people.
Prime Minister Ahmed received three African ex-leaders working on behalf of the African Union. Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa all arrived in Ethiopia for talks on Friday.
The African Union called for an immediate halt to hostilities on 10 November, but the conflict only spiralled further out of control. Now, Abiy’s army is currently poised for a final offensive against regional forces in the Tigray region. Three weeks ago, he deployed the national Army on an offensive against local troops in Tigray after accusing them of attacking federal troops.
He said the military would bring an end to the fighting in the region and remove its leadership, which his government regards as illegal.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which holds control of the northern region, still refuses to surrender its rule.
Abiy’s forces are currently near Mekelle, a city of 500,000 people. The TPLF said its forces would stand firm, as soldiers dug trenches and prepared fortifications.
Over the last few weeks, thousands have died and more than 30,000 refugees have fled to Sudan. Reports suggest this conflict is already spilling into Eritrea and destabilising the wider Horn of Africa.
On Friday, the UNHCR said nearly 100,000 Eritrean refugees in Tigray could run out of food as early as next week if supplies cannot reach them.
The UN are hoping to raise US$200 million to cover food, shelter and the other urgent needs of refugees, with plans to help 200,000 people over the next six-months.
After heavy artillery strikes on Saturday, the federal government claimed the city of Mekelle was now under its control, but there was no way to independently confirm the assertion.
People who fled the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region arriving at a refugee camp in Sudan on Thursday.Credit…Nariman El-Mofty/Associated Press
By Simon Marks
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia claimed victory in its conflict with the restive region of Tigray on Saturday, after a daylong series of artillery strikes against the regional capital, a city of half a million people.
With communications shut off, there was no way to independently confirm the government’s claim, and the leadership of Tigray had vowed earlier in the day to mount a stiff resistance to the government assault.
Leader of Tigray forces says they will continue fighting Ethiopian government
By Reuters Staff
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The leader of the rebellious Tigrayan forces told Reuters in a text message that they will continue fighting the Ethiopian government, hours after the government declared military operations in Tigray complete.
“Their brutality can only add (to) our resolve to fight these invaders to the last,” said Debretsion Gebremichael in a message. Asked by Reuters in a text message if that meant his forces will continue fighting, he replied: “Certainly. This is about defending our right to self determination.”
There was no immediate response to this from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government. Abiy said earlier that police were searching for the leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and they would be apprehended and brought to justice.
Following the ongoing hostilities between Ethiopia’s Federal Government troops and the forces of Tigray regional State in the northern part of the country, Pax Christi International, a global Catholic peace movement has called on the Federal government and the leadership of Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) to “stop the violence immediately and enter into peaceful dialogue.”
“We call upon the Federal government and the Tigray regional government of Ethiopia to work together with the international community, the United Nations, the African Union and fellow African countries and the European Union to initiate a peaceful dialogue which will lead to a ceasefire and a peace agreement,” Pax Christi International said in a statement sent to AMECEA online dated Monday, November 23.
The Catholic peace movement with about 120-member organizations worldwide including members from the African continent, highlighted that “military actions will not lead to a just resolution of the conflict and can only lead to further escalation of violence, aggravating the suffering of the population.”
In the Monday statement, the movement has strongly condemned the “country’s political crisis that has developed into a civil conflict between the Federal government and the Tigray People Liberation government, causing immense violence, internal displacement of persons and thousands of refugees.”
As a way forward, the non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Brussels has appealed to the parties to “stop the violence immediately” and instead “take steps towards pursuing the implementation of a well-defined and all-inclusive peace process to a united and stable Ethiopia.”
They have further asked “all parties to commit decidedly and effectively to protect and assist civilians, especially the most vulnerable,” believing that a “comprehensive inclusive and non-violent political process is the only way to end this violent conflict.”
Additionally, the organization has called for an end of “arms selling and arms trafficking to all parties involved in the conflict and equally, the enforcement of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).”
Emphasizing on the need for Ethiopia government to stop violence to mitigate the challenges bedeviling the country, the Pax Christi International leadership noted, “A ceasefire urgently needs to be declared. A major humanitarian crisis is imminent in the region if no decisive action is taken (and) significant humanitarian assistance for victims of violence and displaced communities should be secured.”
According to the Peace movement, the resources that are being used in the current violence should rather be channeled towards response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the entire world.
Releasing their statement weeks after the Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia and the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) earlier appealed to the Federal government and TPLF leadership for peaceful dialogue to end the disagreements, the organization has disclosed that they join the Church leaders in their plea for constructive and peaceful dialogue which will “not only benefit the people of Ethiopia but also the neighboring countries who are in danger of the escalating violence as the conflict is spilling over.”
Pax Christi International was founded in Europe in 1945 as a reconciliation movement bringing together French and Germans after World War II. Today, the movement has 120 member organizations active in more than 50 countries worldwide.
By Robbie COREY-BOULET on November 28 2020 1:17 PM
Eritrea’s capital came under fire from Ethiopia’s breakaway Tigray region Friday, raising fears that Ethiopia’s internal conflict could spread as leader Abiy Ahmed resisted calls for dialogue.
For more than three weeks now, Ethiopia and Tigray have engaged in fierce fighting that the International Crisis Group said Friday had left thousands dead “including many civilians as well as security forces”.
Ethiopia and the region of Tigray AFP / Jean-Michel CORNU