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UN: Tigray patient fatalities from lack of medical supplies

AFP

clock 2 min read

Ethiopian refugees who fled fighting in the Tigray Region watch workers unload World Food Programme food aid in Sudan's eastern Gedaref State, on November 20, 2020.
Ashraf Shazly/AFPEthiopian refugees who fled fighting in the Tigray Region watch workers unload World Food Programme food aid in Sudan's eastern Gedaref State, on November 20, 2020.

Last week, Ethiopia also expelled several UN aid workers

Medical supply shortages are having fatal consequences in Ethiopia's war-hit Tigray region, the United Nations emergency-response agency said on Thursday.

The latest situation report from the agency comes one week after Ethiopia expelled seven senior UN officials over accusations of "meddling."

While 80 aid trucks reached Tigray, badly needed medical supplies "were not allowed," a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

"The health situation is of particular concern due to lack of medicine and medical equipment," it explained.

At Ayder Referral Hospital in Tigray's capital Mekele, the region's biggest, 18 people including one child died because there were no hemodialysis catheters, OCHA said. 

The report also cited five deaths in Selwa district in southern Tigray due to "lack of health care" in treating postpartum hemorrhages.

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Federal officials blame the TPLF for obstructing deliveries, citing recent offensives in neighboring Afar and Amhara regions. 

But the US State Department told AFP last month that access to essential supplies and services was "being denied by the Ethiopian government" and that there were "indications of a siege."

Last week's expulsion of the senior UN officials sparked global outrage.

At a UN Security Council on Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres demanded written proof of their alleged misconduct.

Ethiopia said the officials inflated figures of alleged victims, invented famine deaths and invited armed rebels into protected UN compounds.