The Weeknd has taken part in a USAID government meeting in which he was briefed about the “devastating” crisis in Tigray, Ethiopia.
The Canadian singer-songwriter (real name Abel Tesfaye) sat down for the virtual meeting on Thursday (June 10) with USAID’S administrator Samantha Power, and National Security Director Colin Thomas-Jensen among others.
Sharing screenshots from the virtual discussion on his Instagram, The Weeknd wrote: “Was briefed today by US Gov team @USAID and @samanthajpower leading emergency response about the devastating crisis in #Tigray Ethiopia.”
“90% of the population – require humanitarian assistance. We can help by spreading awareness and donating,” he added.
In November 2020, armed conflict broke out between the regional government and the Federal government in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. It is reported that over one million people are now thought to be displaced because of the conflict, and it is estimated that over 4.5million people are now in need of assistance.
According to a New York Times report in February, an internal report from the US government said officials in Ethiopia were “leading a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing” in Tigray. Harvests have been impacted by the fighting, leaving some areas in the region nearing famine.
The Weeknd, whose parents are both from Ethiopia but emigrated to Canada before he was born, highlighted that 63,000 refugees, as of April 2021, have been arriving in Eastern Sudan, and there’s a high risk of serious famine in the state without an immediate increase in humanitarian assistance.
“There’s increased protection needed for at-risk groups, such as women and girls experiencing gender-based violence,” he wrote.
The Weeknd urged people to help by donating to the Tigray, Ethiopia disaster relief fund, which you can do so here.
“I will be donating $1million to provide 2million meals through the United Nations World Food Programme and encourage those who can to please give as well,” he said in an Instagram post. You can donate to the UN’s World Food Programme here.