On 19 January, “Every Casualty Counts” and the Royal Holloway University of London organised a webinar on casualty recording in Tigray. We presented our average estimate of a total number of civilian deaths in Tigray of 518k (with a lower estimate of 311k and an upper estimate of 808k) between 4 November 2020 and 31 December 2022.
Since the beginning of 2023, there has been further fighting and the civilian deaths need revising upwards. Of these, approximately 10% would be due to massacres, bomb impacts and other killings; 30% due to the total collapse of the healthcare system; and 60% due to famine.
This is certainly not the final overall figure for the entire war. This estimate, indeed, does not include civilian victims in the Afar or Amhara regions, nor battlefield deaths (Ethiopian, Eritrean, Amhara, Tigray and Somali soldiers). For these reasons, several estimates of the death toll are considerably higher than ours. The 800k death toll mentioned by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, appears plausible.
- Süddeutsche Zeitung, 12 January 2023: Krieg in Tigray – Das Sterben der anderen [in German] (War in Tigray – When others die) – This is just the second non-Tigrayan, independent journalists’ team that managed to report from within Tigray since July 2021 (18 months). The Ethiopian government laid siege on the region and doesn’t allow journalists to travel freely, so both the SZ and the earlier ARTE team had to go there in a clandestine way and at high risk. This twitter thread by journalist Bernd Dörries brings the summary: https://twitter.com/Techjournalisto/status/1613222920712556571
- Axumawian Media, 16 January 2023: Humanitarian Aid in Tigray – the reality – With Tim Vanden Bempt
- Financial Times, 15 January 2023: War in Tigray may have killed 600,000 people, peace mediator says.
Em. Senior Full Professor
Department of Geography