WHO chief Tedros walking tightrope on Tigray

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s leader, is in the rare position of heading a UN agency’s response to a humanitarian crisis in which his own family’s survival is at stake.

Tedros, 57, hails from Tigray, the besieged northern region of Ethiopia gripped by fighting and misery for two years.

Last week’s ceasefire deal between Ethiopia’s government and Tigrayan rebels raised hopes that the brutal conflict in Africa’s second most populous country could be nearing its end.

“The most courageous choose peace,” Tedros tweeted on Saturday. “Give peace a chance!”

Globally recognisable as the face of the international Covid-19 response, Tedros frequently uses his platform to speak out on his homeland.

“Yes, this affects me personally,” the WHO chief, who was once a top figure in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), told reporters on October 19.

“Most of my relatives are in the most affected areas, more than 90 percent of them.

“But my job is to draw the world’s attention to crises that threaten the health of people wherever they are.”

Since the Tigray conflict erupted two years ago, the region’s six million people have been virtually cut off from the outside world.

With little aid trickling in, they face dire shortages of fuel, food and medicines, and lack basic services, including communications and electricity.

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