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Essential Medical Supplies at Critically Low Levels in Ethiopia’s Conflict Zone

Doctors at the biggest hospital in Tigray say they have just days supply left of insulin, as the resumption of fighting between rebels and Ethiopian government troops once again cuts off supplies to the region. In what the head of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has branded “a humanitarian crime,” medics at Ayder specialist referral hospital warn they have already run out of one kind of the life-saving medicine and have only a week’s supply of another. More than 6,000 people were being treated for type 1 diabetes throughout the region before the war began, about 2,500 of them at Ayder. Earlier this year, a cessation of hostilities in the bitter conflict between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and federal troops allowed for the delivery of emergency supplies into the northern region, which until then had been languishing under what the United Nations termed a de-facto blockade. Now, with fighting once again raging and both sides blaming the other for breaking the truce, humanitarian officials say they have been unable to get fresh supplies of either food or medicines into Tigray for a month. The region remains largely cut off from the rest of Ethiopia, without basic services such as electricity, communications and banking.