AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - "Intentional mass starvation": humanitarian truce in Tigray is at stake

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Addis Ababa (Agenzia Fides) - Hundreds of thousands of Tigrayans are dying of hunger. The humanitarian truce that began on March 24 is already at stake. The government has allowed only one aid convoy to enter Tigray, the first since mid-December 2021, and has refused any permission until the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) has not withdrawn to the region. The TPLF wants aid to flow freely before withdrawing completely, along with the withdrawal of Amhara forces from western Tigray. "Without a breakthrough to ease the blockade, the horror of ethnic cleansing will be accompanied by an equally grotesque abuse: deliberate mass starvation". This is what emerged from an in-depth investigation by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International which, in a joint report, published on April 6, conclude that the authorities in the Amhara region have systematically killed or espelle hundreds of thousands of people of Tigrayan origin from the territory seized by Tigray since the beginning of the war.
"The humanitarian situation in Tigray continues to worsen. The passage through the humanitarian corridors through which the United Nations, the government or other agencies try to bring food into the country, is sometimes blocked and we do not know for sure by whom", said the Archbishop of Addis Ababa, Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel. "As a result, continues the cardinal, the suffering of the people is increasing. As the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia, we have launched appeals to our Catholic network throughout the world, in particular through Caritas Internationalis. Only a fortnight ago we asked for money to help our people, not only in Tigray, but also in neighboring areas. The drought (see Fides, 7/4/2022) has worsened due to climate change. The humanitarian crisis is huge and people are in dire need of help".
The Cardinal concluded his reflection by emphasizing that Ethiopia should not be seen as a country of conflict or war. "We have many challenges here in Ethiopia, but I believe and trust in the prayers of people who have been united for centuries, who have married and lived as Ethiopians. Our hope is that soon our peoples will soon become one again".
The disputed area, officially known as Western Tigray before the war, is today probably the main obstacle to ending the conflict. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 20/4/2022)