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Ethiopian bishop’s desperate plea for humanitarian aid

Ethiopia starvation

R. Bociaga | Shutterstock

Mekele, Tigray, Ethiopia - 01 June 2021: The victims of the famine on the hospital beds

J-P Mauro - published on 04/19/24

"We embrace children so undernourished that they appear skin and bones ... families who are struggling to provide even a portion of a single meal each day ..."

Bishop Tesfasellassie Medhin of the Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat, Ethiopia, is calling attention to the humanitarian crisis in his country. Violence from warring factions, prolonged drought, and famine have presented harsh challenges to the people of Ethiopia, causing the number of displaced Ethiopians to reach the millions.

In an April 15 letter, titled “A Call to All Concerned National and International Bodies who Care to Alleviate the Continued Humanitarian Suffering and Decimation,” the bishop wrote of the dire situation in Ethiopia: 

“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,” Bishop Medhin wrote.

The bishop expressed his sorrow that the rampant violence and drought have affected tens of millions of people. A February report from the Guardian details the ongoing famine in Ethiopia, where it is estimated that 6 million are in need of aid and “untold thousands” have perished from starvation, disease, and violence. The US estimates that around 900,000 Ethiopians are living in famine conditions, while aid organizations can only reach about 14% of the population.

While the bishop noted that the diocese has joined with charitable organizations to “provide for the most vulnerable,” the funds that have been raised from these organizations, the state, and international charity groups is still “clearly not enough.” He wrote: 

“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 undernourished 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.”

He implored aid organizations to lend more support, fearing more “foreboding unpredictable rains, drought, and flooding.” He said that the situation calls for a greater effort to limit the effects of climate change, as it presents yet another challenge to the already difficult lives of those who live in Tigray.

“The population of Tigray and neighboring 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.”

To help, consider a donation to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

Read more at CISA.

EthiopiaNatural disastersRefugees
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