ADDIS ABABA/NEW YORK, March 15, 2021—Health facilities across Ethiopia's Tigray region have been looted, vandalized, and destroyed in a deliberate and widespread attack on health care, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today, sharing the findings of an assessment by MSF teams.
Of 106 health facilities visited by MSF teams in Tigray from mid-December to early March, nearly 70 percent had been looted and more than 30 percent had been damaged. Only 13 percent were functioning normally.
"The attacks on Tigray's health facilities are having a devastating impact on the population," said Oliver Behn, MSF general director. "Health facilities and health staff need to be protected during a conflict, in accordance with international humanitarian law. This is clearly not happening in Tigray."
The looting of health facilities continues, according to MSF teams. While some looting may have been opportunistic, health facilities in most areas appear to have been deliberately vandalized to render them nonfunctional. In many health centers, such as in Debre Abay and May Kuhli in northwestern Tigray, teams found destroyed equipment, smashed doors and windows, and medicine and patient files scattered across floors.
In Adwa hospital in central Tigray, medical equipment, including ultrasound machines and monitors, had been deliberately smashed. In the same region, the health facility in Semema was reportedly looted twice by soldiers before being set on fire, while the health center in Sebeya was hit by rockets, destroying the delivery room.