Ethiopian Bishop: «Millions to die in Tigray if humanitarian aid doesn’t go through»
The open letter of Abune Tesfasellassie Medhin, Adigrat catholic Bishop. «All roads to enter Tigray blocked since June 2021».
September 17, 2021
Subject: Bishop’s Urgent Call for Allowing Humanitarian Resources Access and Mobilize Humanitarian Aid Resources, and for Peaceful Intervention to End the War.
Greeting of peace in Christ! Despite the movement restriction and limited permission to access and mobilize humanitarian aid resources, the Catholic Church in Tigray (Adigrat Diocesan Catholic Secretariat and the Catholic Congregations operating under the Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat) has been engaged in addressing emergency needs of the war-affected people in Tigray with the charitable collaboration of our international partners/donors.
Yet the humanitarian support had been limited in towns and areas that are closer to the main roads. However, like other humanitarian aid organizations, we could not continue rendering the direly needed emergency response activities as had been planned because all basic services and roads from the port and Addis Abeba to enter Tigray remain blocked most of the time starting from June 2021.
Since then, we are neither able to withdraw cash from banks from the emergency funds already been entrusted for the purpose through our stewardship by our partners/donors, nor are we able to receive emergency response funds from donors, hence could not been able to move forward with our ongoing emergency response programs to reach to the war-affected people and reduce the suffering. In other words, transactions of the transferred money from our partner organizations/donors to the local banks in Tigray which was intended to address humanitarian needs are suspended by the Federal authorities.
We perceive that the suspension has been done without due consideration to the immense humanitarian aid needs in the region. Consequently, because the accesses to the essential services like electricity, banking, telecommunication, transport, and health facilities have been denied, the people in Tigray – especially IDPs, returnees and those who are affected most due to the impact of the war have run out of food items, basic life-saving medicines, potable water, shelter.
Hence, it is a day-to-day reality to see human sufferings, starvation & lack of medicines to preventable diseases. Besides, the current situation on the ground shows that any delay by days in responding to the humanitarian needs, would end in catastrophic famine and deaths of millions of people in Tigray.
In this situation, I feel it to be my pastoral duty and humanitarian obligation to call on all the competent authorities:
- to allow the services, and also the partners/organizations to lobby for permission from the responsible bodies to access and mobilize Humanitarian aid resources as well as to be able to voice on behalf of the war affected people in Tigray
- to bring this incredibly devastating war, which is eating-up tens of thousands of lives of the innocent civilians and soldiers, to an end through dialogue and negotiation.
We remain deeply grateful to your understanding of this awfully painful situation, which has become an existential threat to the population in Tigray, and to those who are suffering elsewhere.
Please remember us in your prayers, and God bless you & your precious services. Fraternally in Christ,
Abune Tesfasellassie Medhin
Bishop of Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat