As ceasefire is called, aid organisations continue to battle against starvation in Tigray

As ceasefire is called, aid organisations continue to battle against starvation in Tigray

(reliefweb)–While a ceasefire will ease the passage of aid through Tigray and allow farmers to work more safely in the crucial planting season, the fight is far from over for those in the most desperate need.

Violence in the region has caused acute shortages of food, fuel and water and left millions of people dependent on international aid for their survival. Their need is overwhelming and ever-growing.

The situation is at crisis point, with 350,000 in Tigray on the verge of starvation. I desperately call on people across the world to donate to organisations such as Tearfund that are striving to reach as many people as possible with life saving aid.

Tearfund has so far provided cash to 3,500 of those in the city of Mekelle who are in the most desperate need of help. We have given food and clothing, mattresses, blankets, and cooking pots to over 8,000 people who have fled from Tigray to the Afar and Amhara regions.

We have scaled up our trauma counselling response to the gender and sexual based violence experienced by those fleeing the fighting. It is inhuman and unacceptable that women, girls and children are being forced to live with these psychological scars of conflict. It’s heartbreaking. People have lost loved ones and live in fear, insecure and unprotected.

Intense fighting has driven more than a million people from their homes and left communities in terrifying isolation, out of reach of aid organisations. Even before the conflict started, a million people in the Tigray region were in regular receipt of Government support. We need both immediate humanitarian assistance and a long term strategy to restore people’s livelihoods.

Local churches have a key role to play, both in providing emotional support and in the humanitarian response. Our new partnership with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and existing evangelical churches in Tigray will enable us to channel aid through at least 500 churches in the north of the country, many of them around Tigray. Through the JISRA programme starting this year, we will bring faith leaders and peacebuilders from each of Ethiopia’s religions together to challenge discrimination and reconcile divided communities.

Conflict in Tigray can only be ended if all parties work together to achieve long lasting stability. Therefore, we call on all parties to cease fire permanently and open access to humanitarian agencies. While we wait for peaceful resolution, the fight continues to save thousands from starvation.