Adigrat (Agenzia Fides) - "Our world order seems to be in need of a serious transformation, otherwise the consequences will continue affecting more and more, of course the weaker ones being first loosers", writes to Fides the bishop of the Catholic eparchy of Adigrat, Tesfaselassie Medhin.
“It is sad that wars and crises are worsening in the world,” he continues. Now that attention is mainly focused on the crisis in the Middle East, we do not want Tigray to remain forgotten while the population is dying in the course of a war that has been going on for almost three years in the northern region of Ethiopia (see Fides, 3/12/2020). Despite the peace agreement signed in Pretoria, South Africa, in November 2022 (see Fides, 3/11/2022) the combination of these multifaceted causes which has led to a dire humanitarian crisis situation. Under the continued blockages of accessibility and humanitarian aid, continued occupation of Tigray by foreign forces, causing all kind of violences, continued displacement, political solution stagnancies, impact of climated change driven escalating drought, scarse access to resources, such as water and irrigation systems, are some of the precarious situations that the eparch highlighted. "Our population is experiencing extremely difficult life in Tigray. The external world is relaxed as if Peace Agreement is in place, while well over a million people (elders, women, children) living in dire situation now since the start of war in 2020 in tents and makeshift schools buildings", Medhin reports. More than a million people have died. In the last two weeks alone, every family is mourning family members (nurses, student,teachers, doctors, engineers, etc,) who run away from their homes and works to save their lives and of their families and population from the massacres of genocidal forces". The conflict has had a devastating impact on agricultural infrastructure, including irrigation systems, farms and livestock. "This has severely disrupted water supply for agricultural practices and human consumption, aggravating the drought situation and hampering the ability of communities to cope with water scarcity", insists the Bishop of Adigrat. "The conflict has forced people to flee their homes and abandon their farms, leaving the land uncultivated and exacerbating the drought conditions. Many farmers have been displaced from their lands, making it impossible for them to continue with their agricultural activities.
Destruction of water and health facilities infrastructure: Water infrastructure, such as wells, reservoirs, and irrigation systems, have been damaged or destroyed during the conflict. This has severely disrupted water supply for agricultural practices and human consumption, aggravating the drought situation and hampering the ability of communities to cope with water scarcity. Our Diocesan coordination office with its international partners is trying to repair the water systems, repair the water sources, and distributing water by trecking vehicles". "It is terrible to punish the poor population which has been crushed by war and deprived of food aid and who are suffering. The consequences of the war in the Tigray region have exacerbated the already dire drought conditions, resulting in increased food insecurity, malnutrition, lack of medicine and water scarcity. Addressing both the conflict and the drought are crucial for saving lives, rebuilding the Region, restoring agriculture, and ensuring the well-being of the affected population.
Monsignor Medhin concludes by saying that unless certain measures are immediately implemented, peace remains in danger. The Eparch calls for full implementation of the Pretoria Peace Agreement, in particular for the occupation forces to leave Tigray; to re-open road accessibility to all the blocked districts; the return of the more than one million internally displaced people to their respective homes and districts; and re-start humanitarian food assistance.
“The international community has to come out of its silence,” he concludes, “thousands of people continue to die. Violence and clashes are also rampant in other regions of Ethiopia, and the suffering population everywhere needs peace, food, basic services and justice". (MT/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 23/10/2023)