Fighting has in fact ravaged northern Ethiopia since early November when the government opened a military attack against the ruling faction in the region of Tigray, stating that the regional force had made an attack on the northern division of the national army, starting a conflict that has caused thousands of deaths and widespread destruction, displacing over 2 million people, and sending tens of thousands of refugees into neighbouring Sudan.
Adding to this, 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, United Nations and local officials say. The turmoil is spilling over Ethiopia’s borders into Eritrea and Sudan in a manner that could destabilize the entire Horn of Africa region.
The Salesians of Don Bosco, having four centres in the region (Makelle, Adigrat, Adwa, Shire) are still serving the people with great dedication and commitment. Even though the internet network has not been established still, we have had some telephone conversations with some Salesians in the region and their stories are really heart-breaking.
As we spoke to some of our Salesians in the north, these were their words:
“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 from 4th November 2020 and still is going on, many people have lost their lives, lost properties, many are homeless and thousands of people has 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.
That evening of 20th November 2020 (The day on which conflicts 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 as for more than 2 months the people did not have electricity, water, networks, food etc…. we thank God that we have the bore well in our compound that is able to receive thousands of people, coming and taking water every day since early morning by running the generator.
Just last week on 3rd March 2021, we visited several internally displaced people who have escaped from faraway places called Setit Humera, Kafta Humera, Mereb, Segede woreda, etc… to Adwa town. Together with MC sisters, FMA sisters we have managed to visit 5 centres that are hosting the displaced people and we have given immediate response to help those in need.
- The MC sisters, FMA and SDBs are working together and baking bread to provide for the displaced people, from 2,200 to 2,600 loaves of bread every day.
- The SDBs are also giving food items to the needy, blind, elderly people around us.
- We are also providing to the centre for displaced people, food items, non-food items so that they may have enough access to the basic needs of a human being for a decent living.
- The number of displaced people is still increasing every day.
Thanks to the great contribution of the PDO led by Brother Cesare Bullo in Addis Ababa that is assisting our houses in the north so that we can reach out to so many poor and displaced people and assist them in their direst need at this time”.
Currently, there are 35,675 Internally Displaced People in Adwa: 19,240 females and 16,435 males; 8,076 under 5-years-old; 12,565 from 5 to 17; 13,538 from 18 to 59; 1,496 are 60 and above.