Ethiopia: UNICEF – 100,000 Children in Tigray at Risk of Death from Malnutrition (31.07.2021)

UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado told a UN briefing in Geneva that humanitarians’ worst fears about the health and wellbeing of children have been realized.

NEW YORK, United States of America, July 31, 2021 – More than 100,000 children in Tigray, Ethiopia, could suffer from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition in the next 12 months, a tenfold jump over average annual levels, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday.

The development comes as UNICEF announced that it had recently reached areas of Tigray that were previously inaccessible owing to insecurity linked to nearly nine months of conflict between Government forces and those loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF.

Worst fears

UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado told a UN briefing in Geneva that humanitarians’ worst fears about the health and wellbeing of children have been realized.

Assessments also indicate that 47 per cent of pregnant and breastfeeding women are acutely malnourished, suggesting that they could face more pregnancy-related complications, an increased risk of maternal death during childbirth and the delivery of low-birthweight babies, who are much more prone to sickness and death.

“We need unfettered access into Tigray and across the region, in order to provide support children and women urgently need,” she said, her comments coming as UN emergency relief chief Martin Griffiths and US aid relief (USAID) head, Samantha Power, reportedly planned to hold talks in Ethiopia this week to push for increased access in Tigray.

Aid convoy approaching

Meanwhile, World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson Tomson Phiri, said that a convoy of more than 200 trucks was on its way to Tigray, but “this is a drop in the ocean.” At least 100 trucks are needed every day “if we are to stand a chance to reverse the catastrophic situation”.

Latest UN data indicates that humanitarian partners have reached nearly 3.7 million people. But the aid response has been slowed by cut-off communications services and widespread power cuts.

A further challenge is the fact that the movement of aid teams and supplies is only possible via one route, through the Afar region, which requires passing through multiple checkpoints, where humanitarian personnel have been interrogated, intimidated and in some instances detained, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Extreme danger

The operating environment in Tigray also remains extremely dangerous, said spokesperson Jens Laerke, noting that at least 12 aid workers had been killed to date, including on 24 June, when three Doctors Without Borders staff were murdered.

Humanitarian funding also remains a major problem, as more than $430 million is still needed to fund the aid response in Tigray until the end of the year.

In an appeal to all parties to the conflict, Mr. Laerke urged them to keep entry routes open to Tigray, to prevent large-scale loss of life, before appealing to the Ethiopian Government to allow humanitarians to bring in additional communications equipment, as well as provide longer visas for NGO staff.

Permissions call 

The UN needs “critical communications equipment and longer-term visas for NGO staff” for its aid operation in Tigray, Mr. Laerke continued.

According to OCHA, 5.2 million people – about 90 per cent of the population – are now in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance and hundreds of thousands are facing famine-like conditions.

Mr. Laerke explained that the conflict in Tigray had started in the middle of the harvest season in November 2020, when a quarter of crops had already been ruined by locust swarms.

More than 90 per cent of what was left of the harvest was then looted, burned, or flattened, making it critical that farmers are provided now with the tools, assistance and access they need to sow their crops, he added.

Trauma of survivors

Speaking of her own recent experience in the region, UNICEF’s Ms. Mercado noted that one young female survivor of sexual assault told her that “she watched her grandmother get killed, she was raped by several men and she watched her nine month old baby being tossed around by other men”.

A doctor at a UNICEF supported referral centre in Mekelle, told her that he had been struck by the fact that in many cases it was not the assault itself, but rather the psychological damage it inflicts on children, women and health staff, that was most difficult to bear.

Opinion: Abiy wants to be remembered for his “green legacy” but he will instead be remembered for his ‘Medemer terror’

We are now in the end of July in 2021 and time has passed. The Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali have been proven and his certainly not a man of peace. Neither is he a man of reforms or progress. No, Abiy is an old fashion warlord who by all mean uses his office to consolidate power and continues his path to be crowned the Seventh King of Ethiopia.

That is who Abiy is now. He wants to be known for planting trees, steering rain and being the most promising leader on the continent. However, we all know that this isn’t true. His armies, his authorities and his ministries are all working in cahoots to destroy, get rid off and silence anyone in his way. That’s why the leaves of green will not save his legacy now.

The trees that the plants is nice for props, posh pieces in the press and looks great in the world of climate change. However, that does not save the guns, the ammunition and the destruction his policies have made towards one region and other opposition in his way.

Abiy have used force in Ogaden. Abiy have used all means to silence and go after the opposition in the Oromia region. While in Tigray he first started with a blockade, with financial constraints and stopping all business between Mekelle and Addis Ababa. Long before the attack on the Northern Command. Heck, the Addis government even ordered Commandoes to take out the leadership of Tigray in 2018. That is the sort of leader Abiy is.

Then surely, he did the same in Amhara where the assassins got rid of the problematic ones. So, that the right persons could have the offices and the seats in favour of the current leader on the top.

Now, he is embroiled in a prolonged warfare in Tigray. It has escalated to Amhara and Afar region. Where also other groups are participating. The conflict is getting more vicious and more extreme. Where more innocent lives are taken and more people’s livelihood is on the line. Where all old grudges and ethnic land-boundaries are in question. Because, this man sparks conflicts and he ensures everyone takes their knives out. That’s why the Somali-Afar conflict is back in motion. Not because Tigray Defence Force (TDF) entered, but because of allies of the PM massacred Somalis in Somali Region (Ogaden).

That’s why the man-made famine, the blocking of humanitarian assistance from the Federal Government, the lack of care for the people and use of military force to settle political disputes is the reason why we are here. We are not here because the PM is planting trees and refurbishing office buildings in Finfinne. No, we are here because he orders soldiers, youths, Regional Special Forces and government sponsored militias to the battlefield. That’s why we are here and it’s brutal.

This is the era of the Medemer Terror. It is tragic, sinister and destructive. It is not building peace or inclusive dialogue. Well, Abiy thinks he deserves the right detain, silence and even kill his opponents. Because, that is what his state does and effortlessly too. Keeping the Oromo leaders behind bars for over a year and still no proof of the supposed allegations or charges against them. So, when a government does this to Jawar and others, why should be believe the narratives spun about his other enemies?

Alas, that is the Medemer terror in action. That is the policy and the way he will be remembered. Since we cannot remember him for planting green trees, when people are dying, hurt and on the move. When people are detained, seeking refugee elsewhere or dead. We cannot clap for his greatness and his achievements, when so many lives have been touched negatively. These are the lives he was supposed to give peace, harmony and a future too. Not in his power to destroy and annihilate. That is the decision he made, and he shall be remembered for that. Peace.

Ethiopia: Tigray-Eritrea Solidarity Forum ተስፋ Tesfa امل – Urgent and unfettered food aid to Tigray needed more than ever (30.07.2021)

Ethiopia: Afar Revolutionary Party – Afar People facing multiple catastrophic situations in the Region! (28.07.2021)

Ethiopia: The Government of Tigray – Current position of the Government of Tigray regarding a Negotiated Ceasefire (27.07.2021)

Ethiopia: Horrific rumours from the frontline

There are rumours and several of reports of horrific news from the frontline of the conflict. As the Tigray Defence Force is continuing to gain territory in Amhara region. Today’s rumours and unverified reports are really tragic, if true.

As the TDF is advancing closer to Woldiya/Weldyia. There has been internal conflict within the government forces, which is really worrying.

The first report, which has been reported by several of sources is that the Commander of the 32nd Brigade who happens to be Oromo was assassinated either by the Amhara Regional Special Forces or “Fano”. While other of the same ethnicity who has conscripted to the warfare has also been executed by the same Amhara regiment. That was done because the Amhara controlled forces believed the Oromo was directly conspiring and acted in treachery with the TDF.

That is what the rumours are right now. That the Amhara is killing own allies of another ethnicity to prove a point. They are not only targeting Tigrayan and the TDF. They are also going after the Oromo who happens to participate on the same side on the front.

The second rumour, which is connected to the above mentioned massacre of own soldiers on the frontline. Is that the Amhara regiment behind the slaughter did this to confiscate the armaments from the Oromo allies.

This is really tragic and possibly new atrocities… shows what the Amhara Regional Special Forces and “Fano” can do. The other ENDF troops and others participating in the warfare should question, if they even should join the Amhara in it. When they are willing to kill and easily get rid others this quickly. People who has forced to conscript and become part of the ENDF war-effort.

I hope to God that these rumours aren’t true, but if they are… then the Amhara shows their vicious acts and spares no-one in this conflict. Nobody has value or means anything. Except for their own kind, which says a lot… when the same government in Addis Ababa always speaks of “unity” and “togetherness” but their main ally can easily “annihilate” others. Peace.

Ethiopia: Oromo Legacy Leadership and Advocacy Association (OLLAA) – OLLAA Welcomes Unrepresented Nations and People Organization Dialogue (28.07.2021)

Alliance of Tigrayan communiy Association in Australia and New Zealand (ATCAN): Declaration of genocidal war against the people of Tigray by the President of Amhara Regional State (ARS) Ethiopia (28.07.2021)

Ethiopia: Eritrean soldiers re-enter the Tigray region

The pointers are where the Eritrean forces are reported to be currently.

There is now reports that the Eritrean Defence Force (EDF) is moving inside Western Tigray Region. They are now moving with 50 vehicles filled with soldiers. The EDF removed most of their soldiers and battalions after the “unilateral” ceasefire. They still kept some annexed land from the Tigray region. Therefore, today’s news isn’t shocking.

The EDF have been a partner in the Tripartite Alliance and the Eritrean seems to have made a war-pact with the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ali and not a “peace-agreement”. Where they are both allied to destroy and get rid of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF). That is for the Asmara government finalizing old grudges and getting rid of an old arch-enemy of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ).

So, the Eritrean just went home for resting across the border in the end of June and is returning a month later. This is happening as the Tigray Defence Force (TDF) has had victories upon victories in Afar, Amhara and in other parts of Tigray. The TDF will have more than just the Amhara Para-Military Group “Fano” to combat in the Western Tigray. That seems to be welcoming redeployment for the PM from Eritrea.

The people of Tigray and the ones still remaining should be worried. As the Eritrean soldiers have ravished and destroyed the region in the recent months. They have raped, depleted and been vile inside Tigray. This is why the news of a possible return should worry anyone. That is not only making it harder for the TDF to return the territory, but the civilians in Western Tigray will be even more endangered. As this region is already hit with levels of starvation, lack of ability to get humanitarian aid and the continues siege of the region as well.

We know the conflict is far from over. The same with all of the youths who are deployed to fight the TDF across the Republic as well. This will prolong the agony and the suffering of the Republic. The EDF is clearly coming to “save the day” for Addis Ababa. What that shows is the weakness of Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) when they need the EDF to be the “saving grace”. This shows that the “sovereignty” is worth. When you allow an alien invasion happen and does it deliberately. Peace.

Revisiting Abiy’s Nobel Lecture of 2019

“It takes a few to make war, but it takes a village and a nation to build peace” (Abiy – “Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa” 10.12.2019).

It is hard to read this speech now knowing perfectly well all the people who are suffering at the carnage of war. All the families who are torn apart. All the villages burnt, and towns looted. All the factories depleted, and farms left behind. There are regions of burning land, people dying and people starving. This is all over one man’s plan to consolidate power and ensure his reign.

Today is not a good day. Neither has it been for months on end. The Republic is tarnished. The Prime Minister and his allies are conscripting untrained youth to the frontline. The battlefield has destroyed the National Army and the Amhara allies. The Tigray Defence Force is going from one victory to the next. Many lives are lost, and we don’t know the full extent of it. Still, the PM ordered this war in November 2020. He was preparing it with his Eritrean and Amhara allies. Moved troops and even tried to Commando ambush the TPLF leadership. Therefore, everything was set-in-motion for the war.

That’s why reading the speech today makes me feel pain. Makes me mentally suffer, as the besieged Tigray Region is battling for its existence. The internal conflicts in Afar and Somali (Ogaden) region is happening. The battlefields are also happening in the middle of Oromia and the state is losing ground. So many lives are lost and that all for one man to rule Supreme. The man who spoke of peace but ordered war.

“I witnessed firsthand the ugliness of war in frontline battles. There are those who have never seen war but glorify and romanticize it. They have not seen the fear, they have not seen the fatigue, they have not seen the destruction or heartbreak, nor have they felt the mournful emptiness of war after the carnage. War is the epitome of hell for all involved. I know because I have been there and back. I have seen brothers slaughtering brothers on the battlefield. I have seen older men, women, and children trembling in terror under the deadly shower of bullets and artillery shells. You see, I was not only a combatant in war. I was also a witness to its cruelty and what it can do to people. War makes for bitter men. Heartless and savage men” (Abiy – “Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa” 10.12.2019).

“The aftermath of the war also left untold numbers of families broken. It also permanently shattered communities on both sides. Massive destruction of infrastructure further amplified the post-war economic burden. Socially, the war resulted in mass displacements, loss of livelihoods, deportation and denationalization of citizens” (Abiy – “Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa” 10.12.2019).

“I truly believe peace is a way of life. War, a form of death and destruction. Peacemakers must teach peace breakers to choose the way of life. To that end, we must help build a world culture of peace. But before there is peace in the world, there must be peace in the heart and mind. There must be peace in the family, in the neighborhood, in the village, and the towns and cities. There must be peace in and among nations” (Abiy – “Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa” 10.12.2019).

This just says it all. A man who knows all of this. Still, he has had the audacity to order the war and gamble on a quick victory. Because, he had allies with armies and had the power within reach. That he could risk it all and hope for a bountiful victory, which would make him glorious.

Now, he is just delivering the same pain and suffering, which he speaks off. He is showing the savage of men, the leaders who seeks to avenge and destroy one ethnic group. The Special Regional Forces and Militias attacking civilian in the name of the PM.

Now the PM and his allies are sending youths who haven’t been well trained or equipped for the war. He is using the future of the republic to hopefully end the backfiring conflict. A war that was supposed to be easy but has been squandered by the high-ranking officials who underestimated their opponent.

It is tragic that it has come to this. We are here after months upon months with reports of massacres, civilians dying and a man-made famine. We are here with the knowledge with someone who was supposed to be a man of peace, instead he was a War-Lord. A Lord of War, a man who incites and speculate in conflict for own personal gains. That’s who he is and we can just wonder if the peace-agreement was a war-pact to end the same enemy and same people, the TPLF. Since, the Eritrean and Ethiopian government has both invested all they got into this and they are still losing grounds. It is tragic and so many people have lost their lives over this gamble by the PM.

The PM knew the consequences of war, he spoke of ill of it, but he still ordered it and has pursued it. That is tragic, but our reality in 2021. A man who knows so well, but still are willing. He never learned and he never will. Because, there are others who are paying the price and not him. Peace.