Estimate of total civilian deaths of the Tigray in the conflict with Ethiopia

Civilians of Mahibere Dego, in a mountainous area of central Tigray were reportedly massacred following this photo

Total deaths of the civilian Tigrayan population from genocide, starvation, and absence of health care could easily approach 750,000 in the next few months.  Now almost 10 months since the conflict began Tigray remains blocked from trade, food aid, medical supplies, power, communication, fuel, in other words just about every thing. International aid agencies including the United Nations have done preliminary investigations with findings that at least 100 trucks of food aid is necessary everyday to avert fatal starvation. They found there is no real working medical facility or supply in Ethiopia. Ongoing killing is still present in Western Tigray by the Eritrean, Amhara militia, and Ethiopian Defense Forces.

Lack of Health Care Will Increase the Crude Death Rate in Tigray
The crude death rate for Ethiopia defined as the percentage of deaths in a population was first estimated in 1950 at about 32 deaths per 1000 population. By 1971 with the beginning of building of medical schools and development of a health system it was reduced to 21.11. Years later in 2020 with major teaching hospitals in every region, rural health care, and a stronger national health system the crude death rate had been dramatically reduced to 6.29 per 1000 population. Unfortunately it is perfectly logical to assume that if you take away all health care and medical supplies in Tigray the crude death rate just from the absence of health care will soar to 32 deaths per 1000 per year. For the 7, 070,260 population of Tigray measured in the last census that means this lack of health care will bring about 226,248.32 deaths annually in Tigray.

Ethnic genocidal killings by military and militia groups in Tigray
International human rights groups have done some preliminary investigation and estimate that so far 1,900 people have been killed. There is continuing violence in Western Tigray which remains occupied by Eritrea, Amhara militia, and Ethiopian national defense forces where floating bodies have been discovered at about a 40 in the Tekeze river flowing from the occupied city of Humera. The Ethiopian military plans to execute 17,500 Tigrayan soldiers who were detained at the onset of the conflict. From battle field reports it appears Ethiopian federal forces did not take prisoners of combatants only of civilians “collaborators” such that is possible that perhaps 10,000 Tigray Defense Forces have been killed.

Death From Starvation in Tigray
The United Nations relief agencies and other groups have determined that 100,000 children and over 250,000 adults are at critical stages of risk of death from starvation. The routes of delivering the necessary 100 trucks a day to help relief this emergency pass through active battlefield. Many in the Amhara political structure are espousing the view that no aid should be given to Tigray unless they unilaterally give up the fight now. 

 

Author: Professor Tony Magana

Professor Tony Magana is Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. He directs a neurosurgery residency and training program as well as neuroscience research.

5 thoughts on “Estimate of total civilian deaths of the Tigray in the conflict with Ethiopia”

  1. Dear Prof. Magana,

    This is Nigus from the Netherlands, who left Tigray for a Ph.D. study. I would like first to thank you for being a voice for the people of Tigray continuously. I am also aware that you have been physically in Tigray during the war, and I can imagine that the heinous crimes (that you saw) against Tigrayan civilians have pushed you to stand with the truth and with the people of Tigray. Please keep doing this good job. That is true that the health service coverage of Tigray and Ethiopia at large has significantly increased in the last two-three decades, but, in the last 8 months, health facilities across Ethiopia’s Tigray region have been looted, vandalised and destroyed in deliberate and widespread attacks. I am so worried about how catastrophic will this destruction be in the coming months/years.

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