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Ethiopia: Despite truce, shortages of drugs, oxygen continue in Tigray as death increases

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The number of casualties has continued to increase in the prolonged unrest in the troubled Tigray region of Ethiopia due to shortages of life-saving drugs, oxygen, and other humanitarian needs.

Since its outbreak in November 2020, the war, which began in Tigray (northern Ethiopia) and then spread to the neighbouring regions of Amhara and Afar, has been marked by numerous allegations of abuses on both sides.

The war has led to unprecedented and significant attrition of health workers, reduction in maternal and child health services, and an increase in rates of malnutrition, the burden of infectious and non-infectious illness, and gender-based violence.

One of the doctors at Ayder Hospital in Mekele, Tigray’s capital, told journalists that at least 60 patients with kidney disease have died since July. This is due to the lack of supplies needed for regular dialysis.

Another 81 patients have died “directly because of a lack of oxygen” since the conflict between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, erupted in Nov. 2020, the doctor added.

Last month, the Ethiopian government announced an immediate, unilateral truce in its conflict with rebellious Tigrayan forces to allow aid into the northern province but that has not affected much regarding the accessibility of medical facilities.

The Tigray region is the northernmost regional state in Ethiopia. The Region is the homeland of the Tigrayan, Irob , and Kunama people. Formerly known as Region 1.

According to U.N. figures, more than 90% of Tigray’s 6 million people require humanitarian assistance, including 115,000 children who are severely malnourished. Some shortages have been alleviated by aid flights operated by the World Health Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which have flown in 438 metric tonnes (482 tons) of medical and nutrition supplies since late January.

However, these supplies represent just 4% of what’s required, according to experts.

As a result, staff at Ayder Hospital say they have resorted to washing and reusing surgical gloves and treating patients with expired medicines. They are also recycling plastic breathing tubes and items used for dialysis.

“This is really risky for the patients; they can die of infections and other complications,” said the doctor. “Doctors elsewhere in the world would be shocked to hear we are doing this.”

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Unprecedented floods destroy 2,500 homes, displace thousands in Eastern Sudan

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More than 2,500 homes have been destroyed while thousands of residents were forced to flee several towns in eastern Sudan as a result of seasonal floods that hit the region following days of torrential rain.

Sudanese state news agency, SUNA, reported on Friday that the collapse of the houses have left thousands homeless in the already impoverished region.

SUNA said another 546 houses were partially destroyed by torrential rains in the River Nile province late Thursday as the River bank broke and the area became flooded.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a statement on the disaster, said there were fears some people could have been swept away by the floods especially those at the bank of the River Nile.

The statement noted that since the start of the rainy season in May, an estimated 38,000 people have been affected by the floods across the country.

“So far, the areas hardest hit include Kassala, South Darfur, Central Darfur, South Kordofan, the White Nile and the River Nile provinces.

“The total nationwide death toll remains undetermined,” OCHA said.

In an earlier report on Thursday, OCHA had said that at least six people had died, and an unconfirmed number of people were injured when their houses collapsed or were washed away by floods in the Central Darfur province.

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Five killed as opposition protesters clash with security agencies in Somaliland

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At least five persons were killed on Thursday as a demonstration by Somaliland opposition members protesting over fears of a delayed election, turned bloody as security forces tried to repel the demonstrators from destroying properties.

An opposition leader said the police opened fire on the demonstrators after accusing them of not following officers’ instructions.

Hundreds of people took part in the protests across the country after talks between the government and opposition failed and the opposition accused authorities of trying to delay the election.

President Muse Bihi Abdi who confirmed the incident in a statement on Friday, said the five were killed in the capital, Hargeisa, and the towns of Burao and Erigavo in the northern region that separates the breakaway country from Somalia.

Abdi also confirmed that almost 100 others were wounded, with most of them members of security forces.

The president however, blamed opposition groups for the unrest, reiterating that unauthorized protests would not be tolerated and dissidents would be crushed.

Main opposition leader, Abdirahman Mohamed Irro, said despite the killings, protests will continue until the presidential election is held on November 13 as pronounced by Abdi.

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