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Tigray - Final days of the civil war

Neil Cooper | Ethiopia

As northern Ethiopia (Tigray) was blockaded by the civil war, the only way to get food aid in was by truck from Gedaref in the Sudan. They travelled in convoys of upto 60 always by night to avoid air attack from government fighter planes. The journey often took over 3 days. Tekeze

During the final months of the Ethiopian civil war, when the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front were finally getting the upper hand over the Mengistu regime the Derg, I travelled into Tigray from the Sudan with a relief convoy of 52 trucks.

Part of the Dergs fighting strategy was to starve the north into submission by banning aid coming in through normal channels from Addis Ababa. Food aid was delivered from western countries by ship to Port Sudan then transported overland to huge stockpiles in Gederaf near the Tigray border. Finally it was trucked by night, to avoid being attacked from the air, for up to 5 days to distribution centres all over Tigray.

I was documenting the work of Help Age international, Save the Children UK and the Ethiopian NGO REST (Relief Society of Tigray).


As a freelance photographer I have worked in troubled and needy spots around the world for over 25 years.

I am constantly amazed at the strength and resilience of the people of the developing world. Also my work would often have been impossible without their friendship, hospitality, generosity and good humour.

I extend my sincere thanks to them all!


Neil Cooper Photography
web: www.neilcooper.co.uk
tel:   44(0)1548 830011
skype: newycoop

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