Ethiopia: Tigray’s Main Hospital Runs Out of Food

ain Hospital in Ethiopia's Tigray's Region Runs Out of Food (News Central TV)
Empty hospital beds are seen in the Ayder referral Hospital, as patients were sent home after food supplies ran out, in the city of Mekelle, Tigray region, Ethiopia, April 21, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer

The main hospital in Ethiopia’s war-ravaged region of Tigray has sent home 240 patients after food supplies ran out last week, Authorities said.

Despite the government’s declaration in March of a unilateral cease-fire to facilitate relief supplies, the decision by Ayder Referral Hospital in Tigray’s capital Mekelle highlights how little food aid is reaching the region.

One hospital official, who spoke to newsmen, said about 360 patients remained who were able to purchase their own food. New patients without food or money were being turned away, he said.

Babies with meningitis and tuberculosis, as well as a 14-year-old kid with HIV, were among those forced to leave.

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Patients and their families went hungry on Thursday, April 14, according to Tedros Fissehaye, a pediatrics ward nurse. He had to tour the wards on Friday, April 15, and inform them that there would be no more meals.

He said; “Nobody cried. We have finished our tears for months now. But every nurse was so sad.

“The families said, pray for us, instead of dying here let’s go home and die there.”

In November 2020, a conflict began between the central government and Tigray’s authorities. Only a trickle of food aid has entered Tigray since the military withdrew in July after months of violent warfare. According to the United Nations, 100 trucks of supplies are required every day. Convoys, on the other hand, have had difficulty passing, partially owing to fighting and partly due to bureaucratic delays.

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