The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday said the blockade preventing medicines and other life-saving supply from reaching Ethiopia’s northern region was hellish.
Tedros Ghebreyesus who is from Tigray said the blockade was an “insult to our humanity to allow a situation like this to continue”.
“Nowhere in the world are we witnessing hell like in Tigray,” Ghebreyesus said.
The WHO said despite repeated requests to the Ethiopian government, it still has no access to Tigray where 14 months of war have created a humanitarian crisis.
It is “so dreadful and unimaginable during this time, the 21st century, when a government is denying its own people for more than a year food and medicine and the rest to survive,” he told reporters.
The situation was “desperate”, Tedros said.
“I’m from that region,” he said, adding though that “I am saying this without bias. The situation is serious … Imagine a complete blockade of seven million people for more than a year. And there is no food. There is no medication, no medicine. No electricity. No telecom. No media,” he said.
He added that while WHO had been permitted to send medicine and medication to other regions of Ethiopia, it had not been allowed to send any into Tigray since last July.
Doctors in the region were being forced to use expired drugs; and even those were running out, he said.
“Humanitarian access must be allowed at all times, even during conflict. Conflict cannot be an excuse,” he insisted.