The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has hinted that racism is behind the lack of international attention to the plight of civilians in the war-torn Tigray region of Ethiopia.
Calling it the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world”, with 6 million people without access to basic services, Tedros asked in an emotional appeal why the situation is not getting the same attention as the conflict in Ukraine.
“Maybe the reason is the color of people’s skin,” Tedros, who is from Tigray, said at a virtual press conference on Wednesday. At a briefing in April of this year, he questioned whether equal attention was paid to “the lives of blacks and whites” in emergencies around the world.
Mike Ryan, WHO Director of Emergencies, also commented on an apparent lack of concern about drought and famine in the Horn of Africa and the resulting public health crisis.
“No one seems to give a damn about what’s going on in the Horn of Africa,” Ryan told a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
WHO has asked for US$123.7 million to address health problems arising from rising malnutrition in the region, which is home to some 200 million people and millions of whom are starving.