AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - The siege in Tigray continues, the heparch of Adigrat calls for immediate action

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Adigrat (Agenzia Fides) - "Understand that this continuous situation of silent genocide is consuming every day, minute and hour, an immense number of innocent lives of children, women and men of all ages; stop supporting and feeding this stubbornness and instead unblock and restore basic services to the people of Tigray; to put serious pressure and undertake measures and a peaceful government dialogue with all the organizations involved in the conflict". It is yet another heartfelt appeal launched by the Catholic eparchy of Adigrat to the federal government, to all external governments that support it, to national and international non-governmental organizations and to companies that are or could be contributing in any way and means to the extension of this war, siege and blockade. "Together with the population, my clergy, the men and women religious and lay people of the diocese, I am personally experiencing the suffering of my people and I cannot help but raise my voice against this painful daily life, imploring peace from our loving God in front of whom I kneel every day to pray, and who gave his life 'so that men may have life and have it abundantly' (Jn.10,10).This was declared by the Bishop of the Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat, Msgr. Tesfaselassie Medhin, in a note from the Catholic Eparchy sent to Fides. "If this horrible situation is not resolved as soon as possible", continues the Eparch, "we are already witnessing and will witness the horror of a much more serious humanitarian crisis and loss of life in Tigray. Therefore, as part of the larger body of the universal Catholic Church and based on its evangelical values and principles of social justice, we make a new appeal to the federal government, to all governments that support it from abroad, to non-governmental organizations national and international, as well as the companies that are or could be contributing in any way and means to the prolongation of this war, siege and blockade". "Only some humanitarian aid has arrived in recent months, although very little compared to the existing needs - he explains. All basic services, such as land and air transport, telecommunications, banking, etc., are still blocked. Basic goods and services are not available in the market or are extremely expensive, making them inaccessible to the population. Furthermore, the lack of fuel and money, coupled with sanctions imposed by the federal government, have prevented humanitarian aid from reaching war-affected people living in various rural and urban districts in the northern region of Ethiopia".
Msgr. Medhin highlighted the impossibility of the Catholic Church's houses of formation, as well as the institutions that provide service, to provide adequate services to the faithful and to the population in general. "It is extremely difficult or impossible to provide the pastoral, educational, health, humanitarian livelihoods, adaptation and mitigation of climate change, etc. provided through sociological development programs", warns the eparch. "The ongoing siege/blockades by the government and occupation forces have completely isolated us from our pastors and communities, from the rest of the world and from our international Catholic networks. As a result, 5.2 million people are forced to suffer with severe malnutrition, hunger and near famine".
"We are very grateful to our local and international partners who provide support and to all those who are working to end this distressing humanitarian crisis", concluded Msgr. Medhin.
According to the latest assessment by the Tigray Bureau of Education, an estimated 1.7 million students have been without education for nearly three years (Covid-19 followed by two years of war). Over 2 million people live in IDP centers in various cities, towns and rural areas of Tigray, including more than 100,000 in Adigrat, without food, shelter, water, medicine and other basic needs.
The conflict dates back to the beginning of November 2020 (see Fides, 6/11/2020). It is estimated that 7.4 million people live in a dire humanitarian situation. (GF/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 26/7/2022)