Ethiopia: Operational Update On Escalating Fighting in Tigray and Northern Ethiopia

18 November 2020
press release

Geneva — The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited health care facilities in Tigray and Amhara--many of them yet to receive any assistance--and found them in need of medical supplies and support to care for the influx of wounded. The Ethiopia Red Cross Society (ERCS) has transported hundreds of people injured in areas affected by clashes. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 people have contacted the ICRC's hotline and visited its office in Mekelle and Addis Ababa looking for help to reach their families.

As fighting continues, we are seeing a devastating humanitarian crisis unfold, not just within Ethiopia but across its borders said Katia Sorin, ICRC's head of delegation in Addis Ababa. "Thousands are crossing into Sudan seeking safety, and an untold number are displaced from their homes inside Ethiopia. The telecommunications blackout in Tigray has made it practically impossible for people to contact their family members, causing fear and anguish on the whereabouts and safety of their loved ones."

The ICRC team visited three hospitals and one primary health care centre in North Amhara to better understand the needs and deliver medical supplies such as surgical materials and items used in trauma care, IV fluids, medicines and medical consumables. The team also provided hospital beds, mattresses, mats, and blankets. For many of these facilities it is the first time they have received any external support since the crisis started. The ICRC has also been assessing the needs at Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekelle.

The ERCS, one of the main ambulance providers in the area which has managed to evacuate hundreds of people with injuries, received first aid materials. Additional medical supplies and emergency medicines are being assembled in Nairobi and Addis Ababa to support other health-care facilities.

ICRC delegates were also granted access to people detained in relation to the fighting to verify their condition and provide essential hygiene and other items. At the same time, ICRC and ERCS teams in Mekelle are working at a local school to help those seeking to contact their families, mostly through short written messages.

SOURCE International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

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