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30-01-2023 | Latest News , Africa , Health Care in Danger

Ethiopia: New footage from Tigray shows widespread destruction of health facilities

Urgent humanitarian needs remain in northern Ethiopia following two years of conflict that damaged healthcare infrastructure and disrupted public health services in most areas. In the Tigray region, providing much-needed medical care remains very challenging as many health facilities were damaged or destroyed during the conflict. In some areas, as a result, healthcare services are practically absent. Still, improved conditions on the ground have enabled the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to access some of these previously hard-to-reach areas with humanitarian aid.

“We are only managing to give what we have in our hearts. But that`s not enough, because seeing patients who come to be treated die in your hands is very painful,” says Dr Erdey Asefa, chief executive officer of Yechilla Primary Hospital.

Healthcare in and around these damaged or destroyed hospitals is under enormous strain, making it difficult for health staff to operate. Their capacity to treat patients was diminished by the attacks on health facilities, and the impact on the population is devastating. Many people have died from a lack of medical care, and thousands have gone for months without healthcare.

Ambulances were looted, vandalized and destroyed during the conflict. Without ambulances to urgently evacuate patients suffering from life-threatening medical conditions, many have died at home. The Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS), one of the main ambulance service providers in the region, is yet to fully resume services across Tigray because of the lack of logistical supplies. The ERCS operated over 250 ambulances in Tigray before the conflict started, but only 82 of those remain, and many are not in operation.

“We have faced so many challenges. One of them is our driver who was shot while transporting a pregnant woman,” says Berhanu Mekonnen Berhe, the head of Tigray regional branch of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society.

Health facilities and health staff need to be protected by all sides during conflict, in accordance with international humanitarian law, even amidst heavy fighting.

Faced with these enormous health needs, the ICRC has scaled up its support in the region and the rest of the country, providing urgent medical assistance and helping to restore the healthcare system in Tigray – as well as responding to growing humanitarian needs in other parts of the country, within the parameters of a fast-moving humanitarian situation in the Oromia, Afar, Amhara and Somali regions where health facilities have also suffered damage and destruction. In the northern part of the country, in particular, conflict-affected areas have become more accessible, allowing for the support required to enable health facilities to function again. 

The ICRC supported 94 health facilities in Ethiopia in 2022, including 29 in Tigray. Our teams offered consultation services to more than 400,000 patients at the primary health level. Some 59,800 people wounded during conflicts in Amhara, Afar, Tigray, Oromia and Somali regions received medical support from the ICRC, and nearly 11,500 persons received physiotherapy and mobility services.

For further information, please contact:

Alyona Synenko (English), ICRC Nairobi, Tel.: +254 716 987 265,

Jude Fuhnwi, ICRC Addis, Tel.: +251 94 410 1700


Location: Tigray, Ethiopia

Length: 6.12

Format: mp4

Camera: Jude Fuhnwi


Yechilla - 20 January 2023

Mekelle (Interview of Berhanu, Head ERCS Tigray Branch) – 21 January 2023

Sheraro – 01 December 2022

Adi Daero – 06 December 2022


Yechilla, Sheraro, Adi Daero and Mekelle

Copyright: ICRC access all

On Screen Credit: ICRC written, or logo attached to story

00:00:00,033 --> 00:00:09,933

Patient receiving care outside Sheraro Primary Health Centre

00:00:09,933 --> 00:00:32,466

Various Shots. Destroyed Adi Daero Primary Health Center

00:00:32,466 --> 00:00:46,799

Pan and tilt shot of destroyed building at Sheraro Primary Health Centre

00:00:46,799 --> 00:00:53,100

SOUND BITE: Gebremedhin Berhe, Nurse, Acting Manager of Sheraro Primary Health Center. This building was the laboratory and cash desk.  It got destroyed by a shelling.

00:00:53,100 --> 00:01:15,633

Various Shots. Interior. Destroyed health material and documents at  Sheraro Primary Health Center

00:01:15,633 --> 00:01:27,133

SOUND BITE: Gebremedhin Berhe, Nurse, Acting Manager of Sheraro Primary Health Center. Every equipment inside the laboratory was destroyed and the staff were highly affected.  After the shelling, the staff ran away.

00:01:27,133 --> 00:01:36,900

There have been no health services since the shelling, and we have only started operating now.

00:01:36,900 --> 00:01:46,633

Various shots. Damaged Ethiopian Red Cross Society ambulance lies on the side of the road at Adi Kolakul

00:01:46,633 --> 00:01:52,133

SOUND BITE: Berhanu Mekonnen Berhe – Head of Tigray Regional Branch, Ethiopia Red Cross Society. We had so many challenges and problems that we have faced. 

00:01:52,133 --> 00:01:59,500

One of them, one of our driver while he was driving.

00:01:59,500 --> 00:02:03,033

carrying with one pregnant woman.

00:02:04,400 --> 00:02:13,933

He was killed, he was shot on the main street while he was driving to hospital.

00:02:13,933 --> 00:02:22,500

For a couple of hours he was alive. He did not die immediately.

00:02:22,500 --> 00:02:33,099

But it was amazing what he did at that time just to save the life of the pregnant woman.

00:02:33,099 --> 00:02:35,866

With two or three bullets in his body,

00:02:35,866 --> 00:02:47,333

He tried to dress by himself and he tried just to drive the ambulance and he

arrived in hospital.

00:02:48,933 --> 00:02:57,833

The pregnant woman was saved

just go to birth at that time but for him

00:02:58,500 --> 00:03:11,833

he couldn't get support or help medical

personnel because of situation at that time it was very difficult to get

personnel after a while he passed away.

00:03:11,833 --> 00:03:23,699

Various shots. Bullet holes on the the windows and walls at Yechilla Primary Hospital in Tigray

00:03:23,699 --> 00:03:36,033

Various shots. Patients waiting outside and being attend to at Yechilla Primary Hospital.

00:03:36,033 --> 00:03:49,833

Various shots. Damaged health material at Yechilla Primary Hospital.

00:03:50,566 --> 00:03:57,166

SOUND BITE: Dr Erdey Asefa – Chief Executive Officer, Yechilla Primary Hospital

Many medicines and medical materials, they were looted and damaged.

00:03:57,166 --> 00:04:05,500

You can see how much damage happened to our hospital.

00:04:05,500 --> 00:04:13,233

We have tried to make inventory of how much damage happened to our hospital

00:04:13,233 --> 00:04:20,699

It is more than 90 million Ethiopian Birr, they tried to  damage and loot.

00:04:21,333 --> 00:04:25,033

So we are suffering with lack of supplies

00:04:25,033 --> 00:04:30,666

So we are managing .... to give what we have in our hearts.

00:04:31,600 --> 00:04:33,500

But that`s not enough,

00:04:33,500 --> 00:04:42,066

Because seeing patients who come to be treated, die in your hands is very painful

00:04:42,066 --> 00:05:42,899

Various shots, destruction at Adi Daero Primary Health Center

00:05:42,899 --> 00:05:59,766

Pan shot, patients waiting outside at Sheraro Primary Health Centre

00:05:59,766 --> 00:06:12,133

Medium shot, Sign board,  Sheraro Primary Health Centre






Duration : 6m 14s
Size : 681.5 MB
On Screen Credit: ICRC or logo

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