Ethiopia update: Third ICRC convoy of vital humanitarian assistance reaches Tigray
Addis Ababa (ICRC) – An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) convoy of 20 trucks containing vital humanitarian assistance including food, seeds, water treatment materials and medical supplies reached Mekele on Saturday, 30 April, 2022, with the support and cooperation of the parties to the conflict.
This is the third convoy by the ICRC to reach Tigray within the last month, supplementing the humanitarian assistance – primarily medical items – flown in by 54 ICRC cargo flights since January.
"Patients were dying. These medical supplies have saved so many lives. The help has been tremendous, and we hope it will continue," said Dr Kibrom Gebreselasie, medical director at Ayder Hospital in Mekele.
The medical supplies brought in by the ICRC will cover the treatment of 65,000 patients in 13 primary health care facilities for three months, as well as 6,600 diabetic patients for up to one year in four hospitals, in addition to a significant boost to operational health facilities in Shire, Semema and Shiraro hospitals.
"We went from home to home to inform patients of the arrival of medication and the resumption of their treatment. Some of them were in a critical condition and, thanks to these supplies, many are now recovering and walking again," said Mussie Tesfay, chief administrative director at Ayder Hospital.
These shipments will also support 20,000 patients across 19 primary health care centers for one month, including healthcare professionals and their families with food.
Access to safe drinking water is a further key need for the population, and deterioration of this essential service has serious humanitarian consequences.
"The installation and rehabilitation of hand pumps is extremely important in rural and suburban areas, as access to water infrastructure is limited and people rely on contaminated sources. In addition, through the restoration and replacement of key mechanical components, we are working together with the local water authority to ensure minimal disruption of clean water service in the region's largest cities," explained Ivano Marati, water and habitat coordinator for the ICRC in Addis Ababa. "The health benefits are enormous, given the vast number of people served."
The ICRC's support will enable the population in the areas of Mekele, Adigrat, Adua, Axum and Shire to benefit from clean water through the treatment and maintenance of the towns water facilities.
Rehabilitation of the water system will also provide clean water to 500 daily patients at Ayder Hospital, and the restoration of the Shiraro Hospital building will benefit 100 patients a day. In rural areas, the installation of water pumps will serve 40,000 people.
Beyond medical and water supply support, assistance brought in by the ICRC includes essential household items for up to 15,000 people as well as distribution of seeds to 20,000 farmers.
Nevertheless, the ICRC's contribution remains modest set against the huge needs, and the humanitarian situation in Tigray remains worrying. The ICRC welcomes the willingness of the parties to the conflict to facilitate passage of much-needed humanitarian aid. It is vital that the assistance keeps reaching the region on a regular basis.
In parallel and aligned with its countrywide approach in Ethiopia, the ICRC continues its significant assistance programs in neighboring Afar and Amhara, as well as in Oromia and Somali Regions. This includes the provision of seeds and cash for agricultural inputs, as well as a largescale livestock vaccination program for 1.6 million animals completed in Oromia, Somalia and Afar, working closely alongside the Ethiopian Red Cross Society.