Beginning 300 days ago Mekelle University has suffered airstrikes, artillery bombardment, rifle fire, pilfering of its records and equipment. Today the halls of the university and the wards of its hospital are empty accept for refugees trying to survive. Many of our employees and staff have been killed not because they became fighters to defend Tigray but just for walking on the street or trying to evacuate their elderly parents from a village.
A year ago Mekelle University was teaching thousands of students from not only Tigray and Ethiopia but many surrounding countries. Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital was teaching medical school to hundreds and training specialists in pediatrics, internal medicine, general surgery, pathology, obstetrics gynecology, otolaryngology, oral maxillofacial surgery, orthopedics and trauma surgery, forensic medicine, and neurosurgery. We were starting training in master anesthesia, MD anesthesiology, oncology, neuroscience PhD, and many other fields. Leading research was done in agriculture, veterinary medicine, engineering, medicine, and many other fields.
Even though we were a “Federal University” we were abandoned by the Ministries of Science and Higher Education as well as the Ministry of Health. As soon as the war started they pretended we did not exist. The Mekelle community shared what little food, water, and shelter they had with students from other regions and countries. All payment stopped to employees. All medical supplies stopped. With the encouragement of the the Ethiopian military Eritreans were allowed to rape students, ransack buildings, and take any war booty meaning computers, lab equipment, etc. back to Eritrea.
It will take millions of dollars to rebuild the University and its services to the community. Unfortunately is is just a small part of the overall damage done to Tigray. Millions are still starving at the order of Abiy Ahmed and his hench man Isaias. But I can imagine it would be far worse now if the Tigray Army had not resurged and marched forward. It is not over but we pray God will guide them on their mission to find peace and eliminate the threat to the Tegaru from their man-made insufferable misery.
“For You have girded me with strength for battle;
You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.”