Adigrat (Agenzia Fides) - Despite the peace agreement, signed in Pretoria, South Africa, in November 2022, media access to Tigray remains limited and it is impossible to verify the situation on the ground. On the occasion of the Ethiopian New Year, celebrated on Monday, September 11, Tesfaselassie Medhin, bishop of the Catholic eparchy of Adigrat, sent Fides a brief note in which he once again expressed his deep frustration for the tormented population of the northern region of Ethiopia. It is "an attempt to shed light on the current state of the diocese of Adigrat, which covers all of Tigray, and the unimaginable challenges faced by our faithful and the entire population," as Medhin says. "Ours is a region that was once synonymous with beauty and reasonable prosperity that has been devastated by years of brutal war, leaving the population in terrible circumstances", the Eparch continues. "Despite the tragedy and anguish in which we continue to live for more than four years, we embrace the Ethiopian New Year with a ray of hope, drawing strength and inspiration from our unwavering faith and praising God and the actors of the peace agreement so that the war ends definitively". Heavy conflicts in the country began on November 4, 2020. "It is currently a destroyed land, infrastructure, institutions, services, everything devastated or deeply affected by conflict. It is a reality on the ground that may not yet be understood or perceived by those outside who believe that the Pretoria Peace Agreement is fully in force. The consequences of this devastation are disastrous: the complete suspension of humanitarian food aid to millions of people in desperate need. Displaced people, both within Tigray and outside its borders, live in conditions of total precariousness in temporary shelters and makeshift schools, abandoned to their fate, with their lives hanging by a thread. Children, who should be in school, have been deprived of their right to education for four long years. The shortage of food and medicine is a silent killer, especially among the young and most fragile".
A third of Tigray is under the control of foreign forces and the occupation has crippled the region's ability to recover and rebuild. Roads remain blocked, isolating communities and preventing access to essential social services and markets. "The siege on our pastoral plans and access to parishes - explains the Eparch - aggravates the suffering of our faithful, depriving them of their spiritual food and guidance". "The serious situation in Tigray requires urgent attention and support from the national and international communities. It is our collective responsibility to alleviate the suffering of the population, restore their dignity and rebuild their lives. As we begin the Ethiopian New Year, let us not forget our brothers and sisters in Tigray, who stand in solidarity and work tirelessly to bring relief and stability to this war-torn region. Let us remain firm in the faith, grace and mercy of God", concludes Medhin. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 14/9/2023)