Displaying items by tag: Ethiopia
Ethiopia: Warring parties agree a ‘permanent cessation of hostilities’
The Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have agreed to permanently end hostilities, in a significant step toward ending the grinding war that has seen thousands killed, millions displaced, and millions more in urgent need of food assistance after two years of conflict. Tigray rebels will eventually ‘disarm’ and have agreed on a detailed program of disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration for the TPLF combatants, taking into account the security situation on the ground. There will be ‘systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament, restoration of services, unhindered access to humanitarian supplies, protection of civilians, especially women children and other vulnerable groups.’ The peace process has been fitful until now. The African Union (AU) representative said, ‘This is not the end of the peace process but the beginning of it.’ An AU high-level partner will be tasked with monitoring, supervising and implementation.
Ethiopia: Pray for change
In Ethiopia’s first free and fair election last year, after decades of repressive rule, the Prosperity Party won. However, an opposition boycott and the war in the Tigray region that left many dead and two million people displaced overshadowed the election. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has now lifted a ban on opposition parties, released tens of thousands of political prisoners, and is opening up one of Africa’s last untapped markets. Praise God that the Inter-Religious Council has declared a week of prayer. Pray that calls for peace will be amplified on all fronts as the prayers are broadcast on religious and secular television channels and pray that the ethnic battle will stop. Pray that the frightened people will receive encouraging counselling to release their stress and anxieties in productive ways. Pray that in the new regime, multitudes will hear the Gospel and many will accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour. May they be trained to grow in faith through the efforts of the Churches.
Horn of Africa: unprecedented famine
Unprecedented famine grips parts of Africa. Four years of droughts, Covid-19, and the Ukraine war have created dire conditions. In Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, one person dies from hunger every 48 seconds. Water sources and wells have dried up. Crops have failed, livestock have died, and 22 million people may starve. Many farmers only grow enough to feed themselves. Many relying on livestock see their animals die. Families forced to flee looking for food embark on very perilous journeys. The level of pain and suffering is devastating. Half of Somalia’s population are experiencing crisis hunger levels. One in three children face chronic malnutrition. Before Ukraine’s war Somalia imported 90% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, Ethiopia imported 42%. Kenya 44%, plus oil, iron, steel, and fertilisers. In late August, the first grain shipment from Ukraine brought 23,000 tons of wheat - enough for 1.5 million for a month, a drop in the bucket for needy millions. See also the Europe article on Ukraine cargo ships leaving.
Ethiopia: civil war
Drone strikes have killed ten civilians and wounded thirteen in the capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Tigray hospitals are cut off from vital supplies, putting the wounded in more danger. The civil war in Ethiopia ignited again in recent weeks. The Tigray Liberation Front offered a ceasefire, but the Ethiopian central government has yet to respond. Unfortunately, some Christians within Ethiopia have advocated for continuing attacks. People calling themselves prophets have arisen among the evangelical leaders, who are quite strong across Ethiopia in their support of the government. They say, ‘God is with you. Now is the time to move forward with the attack.’ After many months of fighting there are ongoing challenges of electricity being off and banks closed. But churches have continued to meet. Under the pressure of hunger and lack of peace, they still worship and serve the Lord. They are like North Korean and Chinese Christians.
Ethiopia: prayer needs
Ethiopians have a catastrophic hunger crisis after four failed harvest seasons due to drought. There are dire predictions for the autumn harvest. 91% of people in southern Ethiopia live in rural areas, depending on livestock and agriculture to survive – the backbone of Ethiopia’s economy. All grazing lands and water sources have dried out. Livestock and crops have perished. There are severe food shortages. People travel for hours searching for water. This responsibility falls to women and girls, putting them at risk on dangerous routes. Girls are also missing school. Pray for agencies to provide adequate nourishing food and clean water where it is needed. Pray for people to feel God’s love and comfort surrounding them. Pray that there will be no long-term side effects or medical conditions due to hunger. Ask God to bring the rainfall that is needed; may this lead to abundant harvests and water sources springing up again closer to communities.
Ethiopia: over 200 killed in massacre
An ongoing civil war threatens to tear Ethiopia apart. The latest event is a massacre of over 200 members of the Amhara ethnic group on 19 June. Witnesses claim the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), a group authorised by the government, was responsible. The OLA denied carrying out the killings, claiming it was committed by a militia group aligned with prime minister Abiy Ahmed and his regional government. The northern region of Tigray saw a rebellion in 2020; this massacre is the worst since then. No one is innocent in this ongoing civil war - both sides have committed mass killings, sexual violence, and ethnic cleansing. The Tigray Liberation Front has joined forces with the OLA against the government on many occasions. Mr Abiy faces many challenges trying to consolidate power among the many ethnic groups, especially the Amharas. Please pray for the different ethnic groups to realise they must work together for peace in nonviolent ways.
Ethiopia: ‘let’s die at home’
Ayder Referral Hospital, Tigray’s main hospital, is now turning away sick people they can no longer treat. They have run out of supplies, casting doubt on the government’s claim to have opened the war-torn Ethiopian region to humanitarian aid. 200 patients, including babies with meningitis and tuberculosis and a 14-year-old boy with HIV, have been turned away. Two cancer patients waiting for operations were turned away due to no cancer drugs. These needy people are suffering from widespread famine and the ravages of a brutal 17-month war. Officials said they could only accommodate patients with food or money. A paediatric ward nurse said ten patients left when there was no more food: they said, ‘Pray for us; instead of dying here let’s go home and die there.’
Ethiopia: Tigray Christians in Addis Ababa
Tigray remains cut off from the rest of the world in Ethiopia’s civil war where the northern region experiences famine, and hospitals with no supplies. Countless Tigray civilians have fled south to Addis Ababa, many are Christians. Pastor T is a Tigray church leader who often cares for refugees from neighboring Eritrea. Now, Pastor T and his church members have themselves become refugees.
Nevertheless, these Christians continue to feed hungry refugees and have planted over 10 churches in the region. But as Tigray Protestants their welcome in Addis Ababa hasn’t been warm. Ethnic tensions are soaring due to the northeast conflict and Tigray Protestants are viewed with deep suspicion and even hatred by those of Muslim and Orthodox background.
Ethiopia: Tigray civil war
Tigray has been isolated for 17 months. Millions are in desperate need of food and essentials. Tigray's capital is under the control of the rebels. Getting the basics for survival is a source of anxiety. Every bank is shut so people are unable to use the money they have. People are borrowing money from friends and relatives to buy food. Relatives abroad want to help but all phone lines and the internet have been cut off. Plus, any available food has skyrocketed in price. The staple grain, teff, wheat flour, pepper and cooking oil are harder to afford. Foraged wild fruits, which people never used to eat, are now on sale at roadside stalls. People planted vegetables but water is scarce. They sell possessions to live. When nothing is left they start begging in the street. Human Rights Watch-Amnesty report accuses paramilitaries of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Africa / Asia: food crises
The Horn of Africa is in crisis with drought and food insecurity. 20 million are impacted or in need of aid; pray for the survival needs of both livestock and humans to be met after three failed rainy seasons back to back. In Somalia 4.3 million people are hungry, and people fear a repeat of the 2012 famine. In Ethiopia, the drought is compounding the humanitarian disaster of the war in the country’s north, while in neighbouring Kenya’s pastoralist zone, the loss of cattle is triggering raids and clashes between communities. In Myanmar farmers say the 2021 coup worsened food insecurity and is nothing short of a disaster. Humanitarian needs multiply and continue to spiral. One million people needed aid before the coup; now it’s 14 million. 500,000 people have been displaced since the coup, a quarter of the population is food insecure and violent new conflicts spread in a new wave of anti-coup militias. ‘There is fear everywhere’, one aid worker said.