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Ethiopia’s Tigray Region in “dire humanitarian situation”: Bishop in Ethiopia

Violence in the Horn of Africa nation has made news headlines internationally, various Catholic leaders calling for an end to the hostilities.

TIGRAY , 14 January, 2021 / 7:47 PM (ACI Africa).- 

The people of God in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region are experiencing “a dire humanitarian situation”, a Bishop in the Horn of Africa nation has expressed in a letter availed to ACI Africa.

In the letter circulated Thursday, January 14, the Bishop of Ethiopia’s Eparchy of Adigrat, which covers the conflict-ridden region appeals for aid in view of saving the lives of the millions of people affected by the violence. 

“I am writing to you this appeal once again with terrible/dire humanitarian situation which we are experiencing here in Tigray Region because of the war which started on November 4, 2020,” says Bishop Tesfaselassie Medhin.

Bishop Medhin continues, “It is a daily reality to hear people dying with the fighting consequences, lack of food, insulin and other basic medicines. Millions of people (most of them women and children) are displaced from their homes looking for safety and to save their lives.”

The Ethiopian Bishop adds that the humanitarian crisis has not spared the Eritrean refugees who have been seeking refuge in Tigray as they have “run out of food items, basic life-saving medicines, water, and have no access to essential services like shelters, electricity, banking, telephone/internet connection, transport, and health to help their families.”

The UN had registered about 96,000 Eritrean refugees in four camps in Tigray when the fighting started.

Violence broke out in Tigray on November 4 after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed-led government ordered a military offensive against the authorities in Tigray region of Ethiopia.

The offensive was reportedly triggered by the alleged attack on the federal military’s Northern Command stationed in the region by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The conflict has resulted in the deaths of thousands and the displacement of some 950,000 people, according to a Reuters report.

The International Rescue Committee has reported that over 21 million people in the region are in need of humanitarian aid. 

In the letter dated January 5, Bishop Medhin who was reportedly missing in December due to communication blackout in the Tigray region  says, “Urgent humanitarian emergency response is vital to save millions of people in dire condition.” 

He calls on the “concerned bodies to coordinate and make all necessary efforts to respond to the pressing humanitarian need to save millions of lives in Ethiopia’s Tigray region affected by the ongoing war.

In the letter, Bishop Medhin goes on to assures partners that the Church at the national and diocesan levels and all religious serving in Tigray region are ready to work with them in responding to the “war-induced humanitarian crisis.” 

“Please remember us in your prayers,” implores the Ethiopian Bishop who turned 68 on January 8.

Violence in the Horn of Africa nation has made news headlines internationally, various Catholic leaders calling for an end to the hostilities.

On November 8, Pope Francis called for a rejection of armed conflict, and invited the two sides “to prayer and to fraternal respect, to dialogue and to a peaceful end to the disagreements.”

Bishops in Africa echoed the Pope’s message in a December 8 statement, “passionately pleading” for an end to the violence in the Northern region of the Horn of Africa country.

On their part, the leadership of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa discouraged the use of military power in Tigray saying “it will only transform the conflict into civil war, making the beautiful country of Ethiopia to become a more destabilized country.”

SOURCE ACI AFRICA

PHOTO CREDIT: Achilli Family | Journeys

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