Addis Abeba — Medical professionals who spoke with Deutsche Welle (DW) reporter in Mekelle, the capital of Tigray state, say the war in Tigray has taken a toll on children.
Quoting medical professionals and eyewitnesses, the news portal reported that since the onset of the war in Tigray in November 2020, children have suffered physical, sexual, and psychological traumas. Medical professionals at Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekele, said 139 children from Mekelle and its environs alone have come to the hospital seeking treatment for injuries sustained by weapons in the last 16 months of the war. Of these, 11 children have died.
Additional 39 children were permanently disabled. Furthermore, countless children are currently at risk of starvation, are exposed to a lack of vaccines and other medicines, while others are separated from their parents or guardians.
On 11 June last year, Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director, warned that “without humanitarian access to scale up our response, an estimated 33,000 severely malnourished children in currently inaccessible areas in Tigray are at high risk of death.”
James Elder, another official at UNICEF, said “more young children and babies slide dangerously close to sickness and potential death from malnutrition. UNICEF is working with our partners to provide nutrition, health care, and clean water support. The world cannot permit that to happen.”
According to the latest humanitarian update from the UN, nutrition supplies for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition among young children were airlifted to Tigray, for the first time since mid-December. However, no food distribution was reported between 17 and 23 February, “as food and fuel in the region is almost entirely exhausted.”
“During the reporting week, humanitarian organizations airlifted 47 MT of medical and nutrition supplies to Mekelle, Tigray, bringing the total supplies airlifted since 24 January to 144 MT. The supplies this week included 10 MT of nutritional supplies (Ready to Use Therapeutic Food – RUTF), the first-time entering Tigray since mid-December, and will be distributed in Mekelle, Eastern and South-Eastern zones to treat severe acute malnutrition among children under five,” the UN said.
The UN warned that as of 02 March, food partners reported they have “less than 600 liters of fuel available (excluding contingency stock) and only around 800 MT of food commodities within Tigray.”