Humanitarian situation in Tigray (09 July 2021)

Dear friend,

First of all it should be reminded that since 28 June, Tigray has been cut off from the world: no telephone, no internet, we don’t have contact to our friends and relatives. Ted Galt (https://twitter.com/Quen10Tarantino/status/1412851384895119363/photo/1) processed night-time satellite imagery showing that power is back partially in Mekelle and Aksum, but everywhere else in Tigray is still without power since 28th June.

Tigray is making headlines, for sake of the humanitarian disaster and possible ways out. Impossible for us to continue highlighting every article as we did before…. So we’ll try to reorient the Tigray digests a little, highlighting some news and publications that may otherwise stay under the radar, such as the interview of the Spanish priest Angel Olaran (section 1), a documentary film released just before the war “the End of Famine” (section 2), the updated maps of the Tigray Atlas (section 3), a new report on the Tigray War and Regional Implications (section 4), and some selected media articles (section 5) and opinion pieces (section 6).

  1. Wukro’s Father Angel speaks out

El Mundo is Spain’s second-largest newspaper. On 3 July, it published a tree-pages report featuring Father Angel, missionary in Wukro (a.k.a. Abba Melaku): El misionero español Ángel Olaran Tigray en el corazón: “Hay masacres, violaciones masivas, saqueos… hasta han robado el material médico de los hospitales…” Es la tragedia silenciada del norte de Etiopía, donde acaba de ser asesinada María, cooperante española de Médicos sin Fronteras. El sacerdote arroja luz sobre el cerrojazo informativo: “Han matado a uno de nuestros niños. Un balazo” [in Spanish] – Translation of the header: The Spanish missionary Ángel Olaran – Tigray in his heart: “There are massacres, mass rapes, looting… they have even stolen medical supplies from hospitals…”  It is the silenced tragedy of northern Ethiopia, where Maria, a Spanish aid worker for Médecins Sans Frontières, has just been murdered. The priest sheds light on the information lock: “They have killed one of our children. A bullet”

Abba Melaku mostly lives in Wukro (Tigray) where he is well known – even if you do not read Spanish, you will be happy to open the article… You may download it from here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3rs8ppaanrunhc1/AAAtJnasX8RVcZiYZXqj1xC9a?dl=0

  1. By 2019, the topic was ‘The End of Famine’ in Tigray…

2019 film, “The End of Famine” (UNCCD), by Patrick Augenstein, largely filmed in Tigray (Dogu’a Tembien) and in WFP premises.

  1. Update of the Tigray atlas, incorporating the recent changes of the situation on the ground

A new version of the Tigray Atlas of the Humanitarian Situation has been published on 8 July: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_Tigray_Atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation . Several sections and maps of this Atlas have been updated to represent ground conditions that have (sometimes dramatically) changed.

  • Conflict incidents
  • Territorial control
  • Fully documented casualties
  • Reported casualties and occurrence of massacres; update of Annexes A (list of massacres) and B (monthly casualties) 
  • Internally Displaced People
  • Internal migration
  • Banking and telecommunication services
  • Food security outcomes: 400,000 people are now affected by famine (map will be updated in the next edition)
  1. New report: The Tigray War and Regional Implications

Eritrea Focus & Oslo Analytica: The Tigray War and Regional Implications

  • Martin Plaut: Introduction: war, offensives and atrocities
  • Anthony Shaw: Ethiopia at war
  • Ermias Teka: Progress of the war
  • The Ethiopian national context
  • Habte Hagos & Martin Plaut: Diplomatic Efforts
  • Felicity Mulford: The Humanitarian Situation: Aid, Food Security and Famine
  • Mike Slotznick: The plight of Eritrean refugees
  • Sally Keeble: Sexual violence in the Tigray conflict
  • Anthony Shaw: The destruction of Tigray’s world important cultural heritage
  1. Other media articles
  1. Opinion pieces

Follow up communication compiled by Prof. Dr. Jan Nyssen.


Jan Nyssen is full professor of geography at Ghent University (Belgium). Besides numerous scientific publications mostly related to Ethiopia, he published two books: “ካብ ሓረስቶት ደጉዓ ተምቤን እንታይ ንስምዕ”? “What do we hear from the farmers in Dogu’a Tembien”? [in Tigrinya] (2016), and “Geo Trekking in Ethiopia’s Tropical Mountains, the Dogu’a Tembien District”. Springer GeoGuide (2019).

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