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ETHIOPIA: Salesians provide aid to more than 100,000 people since start of Tigray conflict

Salesian missionaries have been on the front lines of the response to those in need


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have been responding with aid for those impacted by the conflict in Ethiopia*, which started in November 2020, in the Tigray region. Recently a peace deal was struck and things are slowly returning to some normalcy. During the conflict, when there were no basic services like phone, electricity, banks or transportation, Salesians provided aid for more than 100,000 people.

Salesian missionaries have been on the front lines of the response to those in need. Tigray has close to 7 million inhabitants who needed aid because of war. Humanitarian organizations were limited in their reach and only about 15 percent of the aid reached those in need. Salesians are in the unique position of living in the communities in which they work. As a result, Salesians have 14 houses in Ethiopia, with four in Mekele, Adigrat, Adwa and Shire in Tigray, and three houses in Eritrea.

Salesians were able to receive support from the World Food Programme for both food aid and essential items. A shipment of goods was sent to the Salesian center in Mekele. From there, it was distributed among many other areas that were in need. Distribution was challenged with no fuel, lack of funding for unloading and loading, and limited transportation. With the support of other Catholic parishes and clergy who volunteered their time, Salesians were able to distribute the goods.

Although a peace deal was signed and many services restored, such as flights from Addis Ababa to Mekele, people are still in need. Banks are open but people still do not have access to their accounts, according to the Salesians.

“The access to send humanitarian aid to Tigray has become easier and we continue to assist people that have been impacted,” explained Father Abba Hailemariam Medhin, provincial of the AET vice-province. “People are still in need of food and non-food items. Psychological assistance for those impacted and educational centers are starting back up, but first, people need to have some food and they have to take care of their health.”

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.



Photo courtesy of the SDB Emergency Coordinator. (Please contact Salesian Missions for usage permissions)

Don Bosco Ethiopia

Salesian Missions – Ethiopia

UNICEF – Ethiopia

*Any goods, services, or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.