After the truce signed between government forces and Tigray forces, the situation of the conflict in Tigray seems to have stabilized. The TPLF forces have occupied the eastern area of Afar region, to protect the capital Mekelle but at the same time to ensure a safe corridor for humanitarian aid. The federal government meanwhile claims, thanks to the entry of 74 trucks of humanitarian aid, its role and commitment in providing the necessary aid to the Tigrayan people, claiming at the same time the 1025 trucks that did not return from Tigray, asking for the withdrawal of Tigrayan forces from Afar and Amhara to provide all the necessary aid.
However, the situation rather than stabilizing is worsening throughout the country. The trucks that have entered Tigray represent only 4% of the humanitarian aid needed, already on April 22 240 patients have left a hospital in Tigray because food supplies have run out: a nurse reported the words of the families “pray for us, instead of dying here we go home to die”. At the moment 90% of the Tigrayan population is in need of food aid, a percentage that continues to increase while it does not seem that humanitarian aid can meet the needs of the region.
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the world does not give the same attention to emergencies that affect whites and blacks. Tedros, of Tigrayan origin, stressed the importance of helping Ukraine because it has consequences on the whole world – in the increase of prices for food and fuel in the first place – however he emphasizes that the various crises in the world, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Tigray have received a different attention. The WHO chief emphasizes that “I have to be blunt and honest: the world is not treating the human race equally. Some are more equal than others.” Beyond the humanitarian situation but in relation to Tedros’ comment many commentators are juxtaposing the accusations of genocide in Ukraine made by the U.S., after only 50 days of conflict, with the situation in Tigray where we are only now beginning to talk about war crimes after more than 600 days.
In the meantime, in Ethiopia clashes continue between OLA forces and government forces in Amhara, in the districts of Hidhaby Abote and Gindabarat, in which the organization for Oromo independence states that a government offensive is underway and that its fighters have killed 200 Ethiopian soldiers in the last twenty days. Government forces have not commented on this yet.
But another emergency is just around the corner: famine in the rest of the country. Already in previous months it was highlighted as the extreme drought could further wreak havoc but now that we have entered the rainy season the situation could get even worse. After almost a month from the beginning of the season still no rain has wet the country and the World Food Program estimates that 20 million people are at risk of famine in the east and south of the country, counting Kenya and Somalia. The extreme drought is already being compared to that of 40 years ago, when in 1984-85 one of the worst famines in modern Ethiopia caused an international sensation.
Some international commentators are already saying that this would be the optimal time for the two warring parties in the north of the country to enter into serious negotiations for the final cessation of hostilities. The widespread opinion is in fact that the military situation has reached an insuperable impasse: both sides have understood that total military victory is impossible. The Tigrinya position is one of openness to dialogue, but that of the government is still unknown: we will see in the coming weeks how the government will respond to the numerous ongoing crises.