Ethiopia’s Tigray war: A doctor’s account of Mekelle’s plight
It has been more than two weeks since the Ethiopian military took control of Mekelle, the capital of the country’s northern Tigray region, from the now-overthrown regional government.
The fighting that began early last month between government troops and forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is thought to have killed thousands of people and forced an estimated one million from their homes.
Despite the seizure of Mekelle on November 28, clashes between the federal forces and the TPLF are believed to be continuing in some parts of rural Tigray. Swathes of the mountainous state of more than five million people remain inaccessible to news outlets and humanitarian groups, while an internet and telephone blackout has made it difficult to obtain and verify information about the conflict.
But a testimony given to Al Jazeera by a doctor who worked at Mekelle’s main hospital until their return last week to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, has offered a rare, first-hand account of the mounting medical needs and the dismal living conditions in the city during the conflict.
The doctor, whose name has been withheld to shield them from any possible reprisal, provided a copy of their identity card and another document to prove their yearlong employment at Ayder Referral Hospital. Their account below has been slightly edited for brevity and clarity.