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Humanitarian Aid to Ethiopia’s Tigray Region “severely affected”, Not Suspended: Bishops

Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia pray for an end to violence in the Horn of Africa nation. Credit: CBCE

Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia have, in a September 2 statement, clarified that the humanitarian support channeled to Tigray region has not been suspended.

In a message shared with ACI Africa via email, the Social Communications & PR Advisor of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) apologizes for an erroneous message that claimed humanitarian aid to the troubled region had been suspended.

“A news article was released from the Social Communication Department of the General Secretariat of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia after the solidarity visit of AMECEA delegates on August 20, 2021 in Addis Ababa,” Habtamu Abrdew says in reference to the delegation from the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA).

During the August 20 meeting, Mr. Habtamu further says, “It was stated that the humanitarian operations in Tigray are severely affected by continued war between the region and the Federal forces which results in the ongoing supply disruption, lack of stocks, cash, bank services, fuel, and telecommunications.”

“This statement was wrongly quoted as if the project intervention was suspended and the news was further echoed by other medias,” the Catholic Bishops’ Social Communications & PR Advisor clarifies.

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During the meeting, he said, “we mentioned that the Church is trying hard to use various possible alternatives like using UN logistic clusters to send food items and using the UN flights to send Cash to Adigrat.”

“We would like to express our regrets for any inconveniences due to the past communications and confirm that there is no suspension of implementation of humanitarian support in Tigray,” Mr. Habtamu says in the September 2 statement shared with ACI Africa.

On August 20, AMECEA delegates paid a visit to Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel and delivered a solidarity message with the Church in Ethiopia following months of violence in Tigray. 

Violence erupted in Tigray on November 4 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed-led government ordered a military offensive against the authorities in the state. The military attack was in response to the alleged attack on Ethiopia’s largest military base located in Tigray’s capital, Mekelle by forces loyal to the region’s government.

Last month, the leadership of the Catholic Church in the Horn of Africa nation announced a week of prayer for an end to the country’s instability.

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The Catholic Bishops called on those at the helm of all Catholic institutions in the nation to facilitate collections on the first day of the week of prayer.

The collections, CBCE members said about the initiative spearheaded by the Inter Religious Council of Ethiopia (IRCE), are to be channeled to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

“We request that all Dioceses and parishes know that a prayer week is officially declared from September 6 to 10, 2021 and especially on September 6 all offices will be closed and all faithful will pray at their respective parishes pleading to God for his fatherly providence,” the Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia said in their August 28 statement.