Catholic Priest in Ethiopia Urges Collective Response to “immense humanitarian” Need

Credit: Agenzia Fides

The need for humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia’s Tigray region is “immense”, a Catholic Priest in the Horn of Africa country has said, and called for collective response.

In a Tuesday, July 12 report, the Director of Adigrat Diocesan Catholic Secretariat (ADCS), an Ethiopian Catholic Eparchy, told the information service of Propaganda Fide, Agenzia Fides, that while the situation improved shortly after the humanitarian ceasefire that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed proposed earlier in March, there is need for collective efforts to reach out to the Tigrinya people. 

“I once again urge all the partners involved to continue supporting humanitarian aid for people affected by the war in Tigray in order to respond together to the immense humanitarian need of the Tigrinya people,” Fr. Abba Abraha Hagos is quoted as saying.

Fr. Hagos says that after the cease fire order by the Ethiopian Prime minister, the population in the embattled region was able to get humanitarian aid including medicines, food, non-food items and other services that they needed.

However, the Catholic Priest says in the July 12 Agenzia Fides report that air transport was paralyzed on June 21 thereby aggravating the situation, exposing the Tigrayans to humanitarian crisis.


Currently, Fr. Hagos says, “Basic necessities and services are not available on the market or are very expensive and inaccessible to most of the population.”

“Lack of fuel and money, coupled with sanctions imposed by the Ethiopian federal government, have restricted the distribution of humanitarian aid in several districts and cities in Tigray,” the Ethiopian Catholic Priest says about the situation in the Horn of Africa nation triggered on 4 November 2020 when war broke out between rulers of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy. 

In the report, Agenzia Fides notes that basic services including banking services, telecommunications, transport services, internet and “connections between Tigray and other regions of Ethiopia are also blocked.”

“The continuous siege of the region by the Federal Government of Ethiopia has been isolating the population of Tigray from the rest of the world for more than 600 days,” Agenzia Fides reports. 

The July 12 report further indicates that “Millions of people are exposed to severe malnutrition, hunger and famine.”

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“Millions of people live in IDP centers in various cities, towns and rural areas of Tigray without food, shelter, water, medicine and other basic necessities, leading to despair, illness and death,” the agency reports.

Fr. Hagos calls upon humanitarian aid agencies to be the voice of the voiceless in Tigray by enabling them to “have unrestricted access to humanitarian aid by land and air and guaranteeing their right to a dignified and secure life.”

“The situation is dramatic”, the ADCS Director says, adding that the unfolding events have equally “become an existential threat to the people of Tigray.”

From January 2021, the Ethiopian Catholic Church, the ADCS, and Religious Congregations in the Eparchy contributed to saving lives affected by war, Agenzia Fides reports.

“Thanks to the financial and material support received, ADCS's emergency response programs have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,” the Agenzia Fides report indicates.


However, the agency of Propaganda Fides indicates, “While ADCS and religious congregations are able to raise funds and mobilize resources from various partners, the current siege on the region has affected the delivery of these programs and continues to limit efforts to reach those most in need.”

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.