“Number of displaced still increasing every day”: Salesians in Ethiopia amid Tigray Crisis

SDB members, Missionaries of Charity and Salesian Sisters in Adwa area of Tigray making bread for the displaced people in the region.

Members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) ministering in Ethiopia have, in a report, highlighted the situation in the Northernmost region of the country, Tigray, where, they say, the number of displaced people is rising daily amid continued fighting.

The landlocked Horn of Africa nation has been experiencing clashes since 4 November 2020 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed-led government ordered an offensive against the authorities in the Tigray region, whose forces allegedly attacked a military base.

The conflict pitting forces allied to the Central government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) has left more than 131,000 people displaced in the region, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In the collective Monday, March 15 report obtained by ACI Africa, SDB members serving in the Adwa area of Tigray within Ethiopia’s Diocese of Adrigat say, “The number of displaced people is still increasing every day.”

According to the Salesian Missionaries, “Currently, there are 35,675 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Adwa: 19,240 females and 16,435 males; 8,076 under 5-years-old; 12,565 from 5 to 17; 13,538 from 18 to 59; 1,496 are 60 and above.”


“Since the war broke out from 4th November 2020 and still is going on, many people have lost their lives, lost properties, many are homeless and thousands of people have been fleeing and escaping the bombing and shooting and become refugees or internally displaced people within their own country,” SDB members say in the report.

In the report published by Agenzia Info Salesiana, the information service of the Salesians, the SDB members say, “(The) Rich and (the) poor are at our gate every day, begging for food in order to survive.”

They recall the events of the evening of 20 November 2020, the day the fighting started in Adwa, when “many dead bodies were lying on the streets and many wounded people tried to escape the war.”

“These months were dark moments as for more than two months the people did not have electricity, water, networks, food etc., ... we thank God that we have the borehole in our compound that is able to receive thousands of people, coming and taking water every day since early morning by running the generator,” SDB member ministering in Ethiopia’s Adrigat Diocese add.

They have, in partnership with Salesian Sisters and the Missionaries of Charity Nuns, visited five centers hosting the displaced people in the area and offered “immediate response to help those in need,”

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Members of the three Missionary Congregations are baking between 2,200-2,600 loaves of bread every day to feed the displaced people in Tigray, the report indicates.

“The SDBs are also giving food items to the needy, blind, elderly people around us,” the Salesians say in the March 15 report.

They add, “We are also providing to the center for displaced people food items, non-food items so that they may have enough access to the basic needs of a human being for a decent living.”

“We are grateful to God for all the grace, blessings, courage and strength that He is bestowing upon us to make our journey in this challenging and difficult times that we are facing in Adwa,” members of the St. John Bosco-founded Religious Institute further say in their March 15 report.