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WHO chief says crises in Ethiopia and other places deserve as much attention as Ukraine

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World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference on December 20, 2021 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.
  • The WHO chief said the world isn't paying enough attention to humanitarian crises outside Ukraine.
  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cited issues in countries like Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and Ethiopia.
  • "I don't know if the world really gives equal attention to black and white lives," he said Wednesday.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The chief of the World Health Organization critiqued the lack of concern and attention the world has given to non-white communities in crisis, comparing it to the global response that Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

"I don't know if the world really gives equal attention to black and white lives," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday at a press briefing.

Tedros previously served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, his home country, from 2012 to 2016.

"I need to be blunt and honest that the world is not treating the human race the same way," he said. "Some are more equal than others. And when I say this, it pains me. Because I see it. Very difficult to accept – but it's happening."

He said that the attention Ukraine received is warranted and "very important," but that countries such as Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and Ethiopia don't get a "fraction" of that same attention.

"As we speak, people are dying of starvation," he said, citing the Tigray region of Ethiopia where only 20 of 2,000 scheduled trucks arrived to provide citizens with food and medicine.

"This is one of the longest and worst sieges by both Eritrean and Ethiopian forces in modern history," the director-general added. "We need to take every life seriously because every life is precious."

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