WHO chief criticises global focus on Ukraine, says crises elsewhere

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WHO chief criticises global focus on Ukraine, says crises elsewhere

The head of the World Health Organization WHO has criticised the global community focus on the war in Ukraine, arguing that crises elsewhere, including in his home country of Ethiopia, are not being given equal consideration, possibly because the people affected are not white.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the world does not give equal attention to Black and White lives, given that ongoing emergencies in Ethiopia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria had garnered only a fraction of the concern for Ukraine.

Last month, Tedros said there was nowhere on Earth where the health of millions of people are more under threat than in Ethiopia's Tigray region.

He said about 2,000 trucks should have been able to bring food, medicine and other essentials to the conflict-ridden area since a truce was declared in Tigray three weeks ago. He said only about 20 trucks had arrived.

Tedros, a former health minister in Ethiopia and an ethnic Tigrayan, said people are dying of starvation as we speak. This is one of the longest and worst sieges by both Ethiopian and Eritrean forces in modern history. He acknowledged that the war in Ukraine was significant, but he asked whether other crises were being given enough attention.

He said that he needs to be blunt and honest that the world is not treating the human race the same way. Some are more equal than others. Tedros described the situation in Tigray as tragic and said he hopes the world comes back to its senses and treats all life equally. He also criticised the media failure to document atrocities in Ethiopia, noting that people had been burned alive. I don't know if that was taken seriously by the media, he said.

Earlier this year, the Ethiopian government sent a letter to the WHO accusing Tedros of misconduct after his sharp criticism of the war and humanitarian crisis in the country.

It said Tedros was using his office to advance his political interest at the expense of Ethiopia and continued to be an active member of the Tigray People's Liberation Front.

Tedros was Ethiopia's foreign minister and health minister when the TPLF ruled the country's ruling coalition.