The embattled Tigray region’s capital is suffering food and fuel shortages as the Ethiopian government blockades continue.
Once a bustling city with a viable commercial economy, now there is barely any fuel for transport and shortages of food and other goods in the market have driven prices up beyond the reach of most residents.
Only a few cars are able to move on the streets of downtown Mekele.
These streets were once jammed with convoys of humanitarian aid workers, trucks, public busses and pedestrians going about their daily business.
Now it’s practically a ghost town.
Ethiopia is landlocked and depends on neighboring countries for their fuel, exports and imports.
But the embattled Tigray region is not only landlocked, it has been under a blockade.
Roadblocks prevent most trade from entering into Tigray.
Fuel is no longer available. “We are sitting idol here. There is no fuel supply. Everything is closed,” said Yemane Teka, an attendant at a petrol station.
Trucks that are used to transport goods in and out of Mekele and the region are parked under the baking sun.
They haven’t moved for at least 2 months because of the fuel shortages but also because of the blockade.
“All fuel stations in Tigray are closed because of the gasoline shortages so our trucks can’t move,” said Teklay Tadele a truck driver here.
Outside Tigray, Ethiopian government soldiers and their allied militia have set up numerous roadblocks, preventing most goods from getting in or out.
Prices and inflation have shot up as incomes dwindle and the supply of everything from food to daily household goods have become increasingly scarce.
“We are selling double the price we used to sell. Now we are running out of supply. There is no additional supply at all even if we pay a high price for it,” said Birtat Tesfaye, a local shop owner.