Hundreds of Thousands of Tigrayans Are Starving

April 25, 2022
Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel, Archbishop of Addis Ababa (left)

The humanitarian truce that began on March 24 is already in play. Cardinal Souraphiel affirms that “the humanitarian crisis in Tigray is terrible and the population urgently needs help.”

The government has allowed only one aid convoy to enter Tigray, the first since mid-December 2021, and refused any permission until the Tigray People's Liberation Front (PFLP) are not removed from the area.

Contrary to the request of the Ethiopian government, the PFLP wants aid to flow freely before withdrawing completely, at the same time as the withdrawal of Amhara forces from western Tigray. “Without a breakthrough to ease the blockade, the horror of ethnic cleansing will be accompanied by an equally horrific abuse: deliberate mass starvation.”

This is according to an in-depth investigation by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International which, in a joint report published on April 6, concludes that the authorities in the Amhara region have systematically killed or expelled hundreds of thousands of people of Tigrayan origin from the territory seized by Tigray since the start of the war.

“The humanitarian situation in Tigray continues to deteriorate. Passage in the humanitarian corridors through which the United Nations, the government, or other agencies attempt to bring food into the country, is sometimes blocked and we do not know by whom,” the Archbishop of Addis-Abeba, Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel.

“As a result,” the cardinal continues, “the suffering of the people increases. As the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia, we have launched appeals to our Catholic networks throughout the world, especially through Caritas Internationalis.”

“Only a fortnight ago, we asked for money to help our people, not only in Tigray, but also in neighboring areas. The drought has worsened due to climate change. The humanitarian crisis is huge and people are in urgent need of help.”

The Cardinal concluded his reflection by emphasizing that Ethiopia should not be considered a country of conflict or war. “We have many challenges here in Ethiopia, but I believe and trust in the prayers of people who have been together for centuries, who have married and lived as Ethiopians. Our hope is that soon our peoples will become one.”

The disputed area, officially known as Western Tigray before the war, is today probably the main obstacle to ending the conflict.