Staff at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are today in mourning after receiving confirmation of the death of three of our colleagues who were working in Tigray region, Ethiopia.
Maria Hernandez, our emergency coordinator; Yohannes Halefom Reda, our assistant coordinator; and Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael, our driver, were travelling yesterday afternoon when we lost contact with them. This morning, their vehicle was found empty and a few metres away, their lifeless bodies.
No words can truly convey all our sadness, shock and outrage against this horrific attack. Nor can words soothe the loss and suffering of their families and loved ones, to whom we relay our deepest sympathy and condolences.
We condemn this attack on our colleagues in the strongest possible terms and will be relentless in understanding what happened. Maria, Yohannes and Tedros were in Tigray providing assistance to people, and it is unthinkable that they paid for this work with their lives. We are in close contact with their families and ask for the utmost respect and privacy for the families at this incredibly difficult time.
Maria Hernandez, 35, from Madrid, Spain, started working for MSF in 2015, in the Central African Republic. She had since worked in Yemen, Mexico and Nigeria. Yohannes Halefom Reda, a coordination assistant, was 31 years old, from Ethiopia; he joined MSF in February 2021. Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael, 31, also from Ethiopia, had been a driver for MSF since May 2021.
The death of Maria, Yohannes and Tedros is a devastating blow to all of us, both in Ethiopia and in the other countries where we operate around the world. We share a deep sense of sadness, outrage and dismay, and express our deepest condolences to their families.