Humanitarian situation in Tigray (2 September 2022)

Dear reader,

Things are not going well, and the situation looks like a clear attempt of a second invasion of Tigray, by the tripartite Ethiopia/Amhara/Eritrea.

Unlike the 2020 situation, the Tigray military seems better prepared, and having seen the war crimes including starvation organised by PM Abiy Ahmed and associates, all are aware what is ahead… Civilian casualties on the martyred and exhausted Tigrayan society will be extreme. @ANTONIO GUTERRES et al., STOP LOOKING AWAY, THIS IS THE DEADLIEST WAR IN THE WORLD!!!

Most recent, comprehensive news:

At the start of the Tigray war in November 2020, many of you signed a Scientists’ Appeal for Humanitarian Action. Today, more than ever, we should alert again and take action ourselves. In this digest, you find some recent testimonies from Mekelle and a short overview of actions you can undertake yourselves to help.

  1. What can we do?
  • Alert media, public opinion, decision makers by any means at your hand: social media, letters, emails, newspapers, …
  • As a scientist, check the numerous scientific papers on ResearchGate regarding the Tigray war, you may wish to recommend them, and share them to your RG network
  • Financially support the grassroots initiatives; contact any Tigrayan in your surroundings and they will guide you; money will reach the counterparts in Tigray through formal NGO communication, smuggling or informal (hawala) transfer systems (Note that since a week, all channels have stopped functioning)
  1. Health situation in Tigray, recorded by Dr. André Crismer

Few days ago, I read a message from Dr Kibrom, director of Mekelle University hospital, in Tigray. He explained that he had nothing to eat at lunch time, just eating once a day. Since more than one year, he didn’t get any salary and any food in the market is at least more than ten times more expensive than before the war. He recognized that, as director of the biggest hospital in the region, specialist in cardio-vascular and thoracic surgery, he has some privilege. He finished his message by saying: “Imagine how hard life is for the common people.“

This morning, I have heard about airstrikes and bombs exploding few meters from Mekelle hospital.

Two weeks ago, a friend sociologist wrote me from Mekelle: “Most of our people are physically deteriorated. I don’t think most of our people will survive if full humanitarian access, fuel, banking communication, is not opened and the siege is not stopped in the coming two weeks. We, Tigray people, are in a situation whether to survive or vanish, the reason is food and there are also new health emergencies such as rabies, anthrax, malaria in many districts where there is no drug to respond to the emergency. That’s why we are under fear.”

Few days ago, I also received a message from Y., another friend, after an airstrike had hit a kindergarten. He wrote: “Please pray for us and do advocacy… Your government should call all parties to stop the war. Children and women, and all civilians in Tigray, Afar and Amahara and all of Ethiopia are suffering… “

And today, I’ve read a message from sister M., coordinator of the Daughters of Charity in Tigray: “Please pray for us and be our voice… Dark clouds loom over Tigray because war has broken out once again and this afternoon, we had an airstrike in Mekelle killing innocent children in one of the schools… In silence, months have passed with each day bringing new horrors forever marking the minds of innocent civilians who got caught up in the tide of such a hate-filled attack… This is beyond words and comprehension, and so hard to imagine that so very little can be done to stop it from happening again. It is painful to watch the poor we treated with much love succumb to hunger, while food sits just beyond their reach. I can not imagine how they will survive after the hardships that they had endured… In the name of the poor, please advocate for this madness to end, as your support is critically needed right now. This is the juncture from which there will be no return, and in such time, it would show how humanity could prevail over injustice and cruelty…”

Further reading:

  1. Scientific publications
  1.     Opinion pieces
  1. Others


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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