ETHIOPIA: Bishop Medhin Appeals for Urgent Aid to Alleviate Humanitarian and Food Crisis in Tigray

By Paschal Norbert

ADIGRAT, APRIL 16, 2024 (CISA) – “I am a witness to unspeakable suffering, despair, disease and death around me due to years of conflict, drought and localized rain failure as well as lack of attention to meet basic needs,” notes Bishop Tesfasellassie Medhin of the Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat, Ethiopia.

In a letter dated April 15 and titled ‘A Call to All Concerned National and International Bodies who Care to Alleviate the Continued Humanitarian Suffering and Decimation’, Bishop Medhin details the humanitarian crisis in Tigray while calling for help to mitigate an imminent “catastrophic situation” on the local population dogged by conflicts and war.

“I am writing as a religious leader with deep concern, and feeling for the pain of tens of millions of our population in the country, especially the children, elders and women of Tigray, which the Catholic Diocese of Adigrat covers — where millions of displaced persons as well as hundreds of thousands of refugees who now call home in the region of Tigray as well as in neighbouring Afar, Amhara and Oromia,” he states.

Bishop Medhin explains, “Our diocese as well as many organizations are joining together to provide for the most vulnerable via our own means as well as via support from public and international institutions — but it is clearly not enough. We see the human face of the statistics all receive via reports: rising malnutrition, less than half of needs met last year and even less commitment to meet needs in Tigray this year. We embrace children so under-nourished that they appear skin and bones, listen to families who are struggling to provide even a portion of a single meal each day, and every month hundreds of beloved community members are dying of diseases they might not have succumbed to, were they not suffering from severe hunger.”

“We ask donors to join us in committing more resources to meet the basic needs of Tigray and neighbouring Regions via fully funding the multi-agency Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) — so we may weather the current crisis, start recovering and build a more prosperous and peaceful future.”

The vocal prelate and voice of the silenced majority in Tigray notes that the challenges in the troubled northernmost regional state in Ethiopia range from social, political economic; psychological to spiritual.

He says the humanitarian situation in Tigray is similar to the neighbouring populations in Amhara and Afar, with the Irob and Kunama people bearing the biggest strain of the crisis.

“The marginalized Irob and Kunama communities in Tigray continue to endure unimaginable suffering. These minority communities and all the people living in the border area districts are calling for holistic help to get out of this continued siege in their own country. The plight of well over 1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) adds to our conscience – the most vulnerable among us,” he states.

The bishop predicts the region is also about to face “very serious climatic change impacts to be hitting us this year — foreboding unpredictable rains, drought and flooding,” and thus calls for concerted efforts to mitigate this impending situation that would immensely affect the already wounded population of Tigray.

“The population of Tigray and neighbouring regions have suffered years of war, drought and disease — and have demonstrated a resilience few can believe — and we pray that we make it through this crisis,” he says.