Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Salesians continue urgent work in ravaged Tigray region

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4 Salesian centers provide support and basic needs for people impacted by war in Tigray region

(MissionNewswire) Since war broke out in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, fighting has ravaged northern Ethiopia, displacing more than 2 million people and sending tens of thousands of refugees into neighboring Sudan.

The war has deepened ethnic tensions and created an immense humanitarian crisis, with 4.5 million people—most of Tigray’s population—in urgent need of assistance, according to the United Nations. The turmoil is spilling over Ethiopia’s borders into Eritrea and Sudan in a manner that could destabilize the entire Horn of Africa region.

Salesian missionaries operate four centers in the region—Makelle, Adigrat, Adwa and Shire—and they are still serving people with great dedication. Salesian sisters are working together and baking bread to provide displaced people. They make 2,200 to 2,600 loaves of bread every day. Salesian missionaries are also giving food items to the poor and those who are blind and elderly.

Salesian missionaries are operating a center for displaced people and providing for their basic needs. Currently, there are 35,675 people who are internally displaced in Adwa, according to Salesian missionaries in the region. They have indicated that the number of people displaced is increasing every day. Brother Cesare Bullo in Addis Ababa has provided support to help the Salesian centers in the north meet the local needs.

One Salesian missionary in the region said, “We are grateful to God for all the graces, 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. Since the war broke out in 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. Rich and poor are at our gate every day, begging for food in order to survive.”

Another Salesian missionary added, “The evening of Nov. 20, 2020, when the conflict began in Adwa, many dead bodies were lying on the streets and many wounded people tried to escape the war. These months were dark moments and people did not have electricity, water or food. We thank God that we have the borewell in our compound to provide water to the surrounding community.”

Salesian missionaries and Salesian sisters will continue to provide assistance to those who have been displaced and those in need during this challenging time. In addition, Salesians continue to provide education at local schools like the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Adwa.

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world with more than 38 percent of its population living in poverty, according to Feed the Future. Close to 85 percent of the country’s workforce is employed in agriculture, but frequent droughts severely affect the agricultural economy leaving more than 12 million people chronically, or at least periodically, food insecure. In addition, more than two-thirds of the population is illiterate.