One day after the Ethiopian government’s offensive in Mekelle, the capital of the rebellious Tigray region, the local hospital is no longer able to cope with the number of victims that arrived. The rest of Tigray still seems to be unsettled: for example, leader of the regional militia TPLF claimed to have downed a military plane and recaptured a city to Reuters news agency on Sunday.
According to a representative of the Red Cross calm returned to Mekelle on Sunday, but at the same time there is a threat of a shortage of material in the largest hospital in the city. Among other things, the hospital has too little suture material, medicines and body bags after Saturday’s offensive.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed claimed to have taken the city on Saturday after an offensive lasting several hours. According to the prime minister, no innocent civilians would have been targeted.
However, the exact situation in the war zone is difficult to verify. The Ethiopian government has cut off as many means of communication to and from the region as possible. The Red Cross has not yet provided an estimate of the number of victims as a result of the unrest in the area.
Reports of a missile attack on Asmara, the capital of neighboring Eritrea, have also not yet been confirmed. American diplomats in the city reported multiple explosions on the night from Saturday to Sunday. Two weeks ago, the TPLF claimed responsibility for the first missile strike, but did not comment on two other missile attacks.
Refugee organization hopes for humanitarian access to the region
The head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Sunday that he hopes the Ethiopian authorities will soon grant humanitarian access to Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. “It is not possible yet, so I hope it changes in the coming days,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said at an online press conference from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
Thousands of people are believed to have died and nearly 44,000 residents have fled to Sudan since the fighting broke out in Tigray on Nov. 4.