Today, primary and secondary schools in towns and cities across the entire Tigray region, such as Adwa, Axum and Shire, are the epicentre of a huge displacement crisis, numbering hundreds of thousands – although no one knows the real number. In recent weeks, this crisis has taken on a desperate shape, with tens of thousands of people moving into cities in search of safety and humanitarian assistance as resources become depleted in host communities and the more remote rural areas.
Displaced people are also arriving in smaller towns such as Abi Adi, a two-hour drive west of Mekele, Tigray’s capital, located in an area where fighting has been frequent and where some pockets are held by the armed opposition.
MSF teams are rehabilitating a number of health facilities across the Tigray region and providing them with drugs and other medical supplies, as well as providing hands-on medical support in emergency rooms, maternity wards and outpatient departments. MSF teams are also running mobile clinics in rural towns and villages where the health system is not functioning, and in informal sites where displaced people are staying. However, there are still rural areas in Tigray that neither MSF, nor any other organisation, has been able to reach; MSF can only assume that people living in these areas are also without access to healthcare. In response to this wave of newly arrived internally displaced people, MSF is also focusing on water and sanitation activities in some of the main towns.