Recently, a tragic incident transpired in a hospital in the northern region of Ethiopia (Tigray). Armed men attacked the facility, vandalizing it and looting equipment. According to the Médecins Sans Frontières, the heinous act was a deliberate plot on the hospital to render it non-functional.
The incident, having occurred during the pandemic, had a devastating impact on the families living in the region. Tension and unrest remain recurrent as violence and the novel virus cases surge. Fortunately, despite the attack, the hospital’s health workers are safe.
What it is Like in Tigray
For the longest time, Tigray has been prone to civil violence and insurgent attacks. Many have fallen victims to the eternal chaos, some have died, and others fled from home. Many atrocities have occurred in the name of liberation. Today, most of the Tigray inhabitants live in camps, depending solely on humanitarian aid.
Conflict erupted in Tigray in early November last year when the incumbent head of state ordered the region’s former ruling party’s dethronement. The TPLF party had always disregarded Abiy’s government. Prime Minister Abiy declared war on the TPLF party after its forces had conducted a raid on a federal military base in the region.
Amid the clash between the two governments, a lot happened. Despite Abiy declaring victory over TPLF, fighting continues in the region. The entire situation has sparked criticism across the world, as many parties are concerned.
Over the past months, numerous controversies have arisen on increased crimes in the region. Young girls have been disappearing, homes torched, and innocent civilians killed. Some sources alleged that the federal forces and Eritrea military were responsible for the crimes.
Although the Ethiopian government dismissed the claims stating that there were no Eritrean forces in their land, in light of the violence, about half of Tigray’s total population is in urgent need of food. The World Food Programme appealed for over 100 million dollars to ease the severe shortages in Tigray.
Current State of Health Centers
The recent attack had seen hospitals in Debre, Abay, and May Kuhli in northwestern Tigray destroyed. Doors and windows were broken, equipment was damaged, medicine and patients’ files were lying all over the floors. Hospital personnel and some patients had taken off during the incident.
The MSF reported that a hospital in the town of Semema had been torched while a delivery room at Sebeya was destroyed. According to the organization, vandalization of health facilities has been on the rise in the region since the onset of violence. Although the Ethiopian authorities have not addressed any of the MSF allegations, its Ministry of Peace stated that 75% of Tigray hospitals were operational, and 10% were partially operating.
Who is to blame for the Incident?
Although the MSF did not directly name the perpetrators, they hinted that the armed rebels in the region might have conducted the act. The organization cautioned them to respect the health facilities in Tigray. It called on the Ethiopian government to continue protecting the health officials in the war-prone region.