The World Health Organization chief has appealed for his embattled home region of Tigray in Ethiopia, saying he has relatives he cannot communicate with or send money to amid a blockade by government forces.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in some of his most personal comments about the region that erupted in violence again on Wednesday after months of calm, lamented his inability to help loved ones among the 6 million people trapped in Tigray.
“I have many relatives there. I want to send the money. I cannot send the money. They are starving. I know I cannot help them,” he said, the latest in a string of pleas about Tigray he has made during regular WHO news briefings on Thursday (August 25)
“I cannot do that because they are completely sealed off,” Tedros added. “I can’t speak to them. I don’t know even who is dead or who is alive.”
Tedros, an ethnic Tigrayan, insisted that he’s not playing favourites with Tigray and has spoken about humanitarian crises in many places, including Yemen, Syria, Ukraine and Congo.
But he has sought to overcome perceived inaction and inattention from a world consumed with other trouble spots and worries and previously said he believes his people have been overlooked because of the colour of their skin.