Aug 26, 2022 - World

Airstrike hits kindergarten in Ethiopia's Tigray region

A boy looks on in a corridor of an abandoned building where internally displaced people are sheltered in Ethiopia, on June 7, 2022. Photo: Eduardo Soteras/AFP via Getty Images

An airstrike in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region on Friday ripped through a kindergarten killing at least seven people and injuring many others, the New York Times reported.

Why it matters: Friday's attack is the latest escalation after a months-long ceasefire was broken this week in a conflict that has spilled over into neighboring regions and created a dire humanitarian crisis.

The airstrike by Ethiopia’s air force came two days after fighting erupted on the southeastern border of Tigray.

  • A local TV station showed footage of rescuers picking through the rainbow-colored remains of the kindergarten, searching for survivors, per the NYT.
  • The head of the Ayder hospital, Kibrom Gebreselassie, said in a tweet that his hospital had received four dead and nine wounded, the Washington Post reported.

What they're saying: Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the images from the scene "horrifying."

  • "Children killed in a kindergarten in today's air strike on Tigray, while the 21-month starvation, deprivation & death of children continue," Tedros said in a tweet. "The siege by Ethiopia must end & unfettered humanitarian access restored urgently."
  • The WHO chief has called the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in the Tigray the "worst disaster on Earth" and said that the lack of urgency the international community has shown in responding to it was perhaps due to "the color of the skin of the people in Tigray."

The big picture: Fighting broke out in Ethiopia's Tigray region in November 2020 and has led to what the United Nations has described as a de facto aid blockade.

  • While a ceasefire between the two sides had been reached in March 2022, fighting again erupted in the region on Wednesday between government forces and the Tigray People's Liberation Front.
  • There have been credible reports of ethnic cleansing and of the government using starvation as a weapon of war, Axios' Zachary Basu writes.

Go deeper: Fighting breaks out in Ethiopia's Tigray region

Go deeper