Tigray war: Doctor reveals ‘hell on Earth’ in war-torn region as 2-year siege leaves thousands dead

Dr Fasika Amdeslasie watches helplessly as people die from preventable illnesses and starvation, and wonders why the Tigrayan people don’t have the same global support as Ukraine

An injured girl is woken by her mother at Ayder hospital in Mekelle, the capital of Tigray region, where thousands have died as a result of a two-year siege [Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP via Getty Images]

The Tigray civil war is among the world’s biggest conflicts, and one of the greatest casualties has been the health system, where around 80 per cent of medical facilities have been destroyed, according to a doctor in the embattled region.

Dr Fasika Amdeslasie, a surgeon in the biggest hospital in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, is telling cancer patients to leave with no treatment and no return date. Some never make it back.

He is watching patients on ventilation machines die due to a lack of oxygen supplies, and newborn babies going without vaccinations for diseases such as measles and mumps because there aren’t any doses left.

People with diabetes are dying because there’s no insulin. Expectant mothers are giving birth with no anaesthesia.

Dr Amdeslasie even admitted that for those who are admitted to hospital for procedures, doctors are forced to improvise with aftercare as there are no appropriate drugs available, and patients either suffer from complications, infections, or die.

“It is literally hell on earth,” he told i. “We are crying almost everyday, feeling useless.”

Tigray has been under siege for almost two years, where virtually all humanitarian assistance for civilians has been blocked. Aid distributions were also hampered by a lack of fuel, and a communications blackout in Tigray.