Intentional civilian deaths in Tigray war is probably at least 1 million

A well documented airstrike by Ethiopia in June 2021 on the Togoga Market killed scores of civilians. Ethiopian and Eritrea occupying soldiers blocked local health authorities and concerned relatives from rendering aid adding to the deaths of dozens including women and children

The total civilian deaths  in Tigray since November 2020 as a result of the genocidal war by Eritrea and Ethiopia is probably nearing 1 million. Which equals %14 of the civilian population. Starvation, complete absence of health care, and continued bombing of civilians in Tigray by Eritrea and Ethiopia combine for this holocaust.

In August 2021 I rendered a report based upon published public health data on the history of Ethiopian healthcare what the effect of having no health care in Tigray would be Tigray. We know that before the Ethiopia Tigray conflict the crude death rate within the population was 6.29 per 1000 per year with the normal level of available healthcare. Using the known crude death rate from 1950 of 32 deaths per 1000 per year when there was only one partially working hospital in Addis Ababa and no health care system this we could reasonably apply to current situation. As of today there remains essentially no functioning healthcare in Tigray. 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. 

Additionally the “de facto” blockade of Tigray officially recognized and discouraged by the United Nations carried out by Ethiopia and Eritrea remains blocking not just medical supplies but essentially 99% of food supplies. Locusts, abnormal rain patterns, lack of seeds to plant, lack of pasture to feed livestock due to abnormal rain patterns, and the locust plagues as well as theft or destruction of farm work animals and equipment by Eritreans have also significantly reduced what food production is possible in Tigray. Abraha Desta, the head of Social Services during the Interim Administration of the Tigray occupation which lasted until July 2021 publicly admitted to France 24 News that the Ethiopian and Tigray government conspired and acted to stop food production in Tigray despite falsely claiming it was encouraging planting.

Currently it is difficult to say how many are dying from starvation. When you combine starvation with untreated disease their combined effect is magnified. Minor illnesses that normally heal become deadly. At health care facilities in Tigray which can do little but watch children and adults die so that very few probably make the trip such that thousands are now perishing unseen in their village and rural homes unattended . As of June 2021 the UN estimated more than 350,000 would die from lack of food. Now months later the situation has only worsened with UN saying if no action was taken to relief starvation the number of deaths would increase to millions of deaths.

Air attacks by Ethiopia and shelling by Eritrea on Tigray’s borders are killing scores of civilians everyday. Especially because their wounds cannot be treated. Extrajudicial killings in Western Tigray continue in secret under Amhara militia and Eritrean direction.

 

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.

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