Cardinal in Ethiopia Says Humanitarian Situation in Tigray Worsening, Suffering Increasing

Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel. Credit: Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat/Facebook

The Archbishop of Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa Archdiocese has said that the humanitarian situation in the embattled Tigray region is getting worse and that the violent conflict has resulted in the protracted suffering of the population.

In his message to the information service of Propaganda Fide, Agenzia Fides, Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphiel said that the passages through which food gets in the Northern region of the Horn of Africa country are “sometimes blocked” and that no one is held accountable for the region's deteriorating situation.

“The humanitarian situation in Tigray continues to worsen. The passage through the humanitarian corridors through which the United Nations, the government or other agencies try to bring food into the country, is sometimes blocked and we do not know for sure by whom,” Cardinal Souraphiel has been quoted as saying in the Wednesday, April 20 Agenzia Fides report.

The Ethiopian Cardinal goes on in reference to the suffering people in Tigray, “As a result, the suffering of the people is increasing.”

According to the report, the Ethiopian government has refused entry of aid into Tigray, since the last one that entered mid-December last year until the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) vacates the region.


On the other hand, TPLF wants aid to flow freely before withdrawing completely, along with the withdrawal of Amhara forces from western Tigray, Agenzia Fides reports.

On their part, the Catholic Bishops under their umbrella, the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia (CBCE) have launched appeals through their Catholic Network worldwide with a particular focus on Caritas Internationalis for Humanitarian aid, the Ethiopian Cardinal is quoted as reporting. 

“Only a fortnight ago we asked for money to help our people, not only in Tigray, but also in neighboring areas,” Cardinal Souraphiel further says, adding that the drought in the country, which he said is worsened by climate change, has elevated the humanitarian crisis and that many people are in dire need of help.

The Ethiopian Cardinal says that the Horn of Africa nation should not be just perceived as a country of war or conflict but a country that has been united for centuries.

“We have many challenges here in Ethiopia, but I believe and trust in the prayers of people who have been united for centuries, who have married and lived as Ethiopians. Our hope is that soon our peoples will soon become one again,” Cardinal Souraphiel says in the April 20 report by Agenzia Fides.

More in Africa

In a report ACI Africa published April 8, Bishop Tesfaselassie Medhin of the Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat said that the besieged people from the country’s Tigray region are not fully benefiting from the humanitarian aid that reaches the region despite a military truce promoted by the country’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali.

“The aid that manages to arrive, following the military truce promoted by Prime Minister Abiy, is not changing the lives of the besieged people and all the services of basic necessities are lacking,” Bishop Medhin said.

The Ethiopian Catholic Bishop appealed to the international community and the United Nations to rapidly intervene in the Tigrayans situation through humanitarian aid in order to help millions of people affected by the devastating “genocidal” war that has been underway in the region since 4 November 2020.

Agenzia Fides says in the April 20 report that the disputed area, officially known as Western Tigray before the war, is today probably the main obstacle to ending the conflict, and that the Tigrayian situation needs to be resolved before more suffering is afflicted on the people.

“Without a breakthrough to ease the blockade, the horror of ethnic cleansing will be accompanied by an equally grotesque abuse: deliberate mass starvation,” Agenzia Fides has reported.


In their April 6 report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) said that the new leadership in the region together with the Amhara regional security forces have committed numerous grave abuses against the people.

The international human rights entities listed the abuses in Tigray as murder, torture, forcible transfer, rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and enforced disappearances.

There is also widespread pillage, imprisonment, possible extermination "and other inhumane acts as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Tigrayan civilian population," according to the HRW and AI. 

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.