Vatican City - The city of Addis Abeba is hosting a joint operational mission by Caritas Italiana and Comunita' di Sant'Egidio, which will open the first humanitarian corridor from Africa, according to the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Rome on 12 January 2017.
The MoU signed with Italy has been promoted by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), which operates through Caritas Italiana and Fondazione Migrantes, as well as by Comunita Sant'Egidio. It has been funded with CEI resources and envisages the transfer of 500 refugees from Erithrea, Somalia and South Sudan in 2 years time. Meeting the Italian delegation, the Ethiopian Deputy Foreign Minister, Madam Hirut Zemene, underlined the generosity of this humanitarian operation aimed at supporting the most vulnerable communities. It also underscored the importance of the Italian committment and civil society towards migrants in these difficult times.
The Metropolite Archbishop of Ethiopia and Erithrea, Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel, and Caritas Ethiopia commended Italy for the mission. The Italian Embassy, which will play a major role in the operational development of the project, supported the delegation throughout the entire visit. The UN agencies for refugee management, UNHCR and IOM, offered their full cooperation, as did ARRA, the Ethiopian state agency in charge of the 850,000 refugees in the country. Ethiopia is a leading country in Africa for the reception of refugees.
The mission will continue in the next few days with a visit to the Tigray camps, on the border of Erithrea, and will be facilitated by the Ghandi Charity NGO. "At a time when we are witnessing so many dramatic events in the Mediterranean sea, humanitarian corridors give Africa a great sign of hope, " said the representatives of Caritas Italiana and Comunita di Sant'Egidio.