Catholic agency launches relief campaign for Ethiopia

Febedu Mehari serves a meal of injera and a yellow split pea dish to her children in Hadush Emba, Ethiopia, Feb. 7, 2019. The Church in Ethiopia is leading peace and reconciliation efforts and working to help the millions of people who have fled their homes after an upsurge in communal violence. (CNS Photo by Will Baxter, Catholic Relief Services)

Countless reports of heartbreak and turmoil spur Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) to take action

By CNEWA communication staff

Ottawa, June 29, 2022 — CNEWA is initiating a relief campaign to rush humanitarian aid to Ethiopia’s increasingly vulnerable population.

Prices of grain, cooking oil and other essentials are skyrocketing, as Ethiopians contend with ongoing drought, exacerbated by the inter-ethnic violence that gripped its northern provinces last year, as well as shortages brought about by the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. The United Nations reports Russia and Ukraine supply about 40 percent of Africa’s grain imports.

In Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where CNEWA will focus its funds, schools and banks remain closed, limiting access to money and services. Some report that businesses have been shut as fuel costs soar.

As the campaign begins, the CNEWA team is hoping Canadians from coast to coast to coast will be able to respond.

“We are greatly concerned about the ongoing plight of Ethiopians,” said Judith Poitevien, Interim National Director of CNEWA’s Ottawa-based office. “We hope Canadians will respond as they did so generously with our Ukrainian appeal. With the help of our many donors and friends, we are confident we will be able to help serve and support those in need in Ethiopia.”

Since the mid 1980’s, the east African country has struggled with environmental change, drought, war, revolution and civil strife. After a number of years of relative stability and economic growth, however, inter-ethnic violence has torn apart the country, especially in its northern provinces. Homes, places of worship and schools have been looted and heavily damaged. Reports continue of families living in fear of the unknown, as they face hunger and violence.

CNEWA’s partners in Ethiopia continue to plea for those most vulnerable, especially children, nursing mothers and the elderly.

“If we survive, we survive with gratitude for whatever assistance you give to us,” said Bishop Medhin of Adigrat in Ethiopia.

Donations can be made online at or by phone at 1-866-322-4441. Cheques can be mailed to CNEWA at 223 Main Street, Ottawa, ON K1S 1C4, marked “Ethiopia.” Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $10 or more.

Learn more about CNEWA efforts in Ethiopia by visiting or following the organization on Facebook (@CNEWACanada).