By Faith Nyasuguta
For about nine months, scores of Ethiopian parents have wallowed in agony over their children that are stranded in various learning institutions in war-torn Tigray.
Late last month, a string of universities in Tigray cautioned the government and parents that they were unable to effectively feed their learners or guarantee their safety, piling pressure on the state and humanitarian institutions.
“My daughter is in medical school in Adigrat and was set to graduate in just a year,” Bertukan Tadesse,a mother, said.
“I have not heard from her and I am in pain,” the 54-year-old said.
“The constant worry of her safety is becoming overwhelming and her father has become bed-ridden with depression and anxiety.”
The war-torn Northern region has neither electricity nor functional financial institutions.
At the same time, phone communication and the internet remain cut off.
Despite a population of six million, there have been frequent suspensions of services including road and airport closures since fighting broke out between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in November 2020.
The violence has seen both sides exchange allegations of serious abuses among them massacres with none showing the desire to compromise.
The United Nations says over 90 percent of Tigray’s population requires emergency food as hundreds of thousands are bearing the brunt of famine conditions.
Earlier in the week, UNICEF cautioned that over 100,000 children in the region could face acute malnutrition this year.
In February, a bus ferrying some 41 students from Mekelle University to Addis Ababa with their fresh degrees was ambushed by unknown gunmen in Tigray’s Adi Mesino.
It was reported that seven young people were killed in the attack, revealing how dire the situation in the region is.
Last week, some 2,000 parents and relatives held a peaceful protest at the UN Addis Ababa compound and the Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
They barricaded roads and called for the safe and immediate evacuation of their children.
Those present indicated that the state vowed to take action.