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Ethiopia’s opposition parties reject government claim of controling drought


September 6, 2008 (ADDIS ABABA) — After Ethiopia on Wednesday announced that the drought in Ethiopia is “under control” two opposition parties reject the claim saying it is far from the reality on ground and urge parliament to gather for emergency meeting in no time.

Ethiopia Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Addisu Legesse earlier this week said the drought that recurred in Ethiopia was put under control as it is not beyond the capacity of the government.

The Oromo Federal Democratic Movement (OFDM) says it doesn’t believe that the drought in Ethiopia is under the control of the government.

“The government of Ethiopia has kept saying so at different time intervals over the past months’’ reached by phone, OFDM chairman Bulcha Demeksa told Sudan Tribune.

“We have heard such repeated claims from the government 6 months ago, two months ago and again now, while the people at danger from time to time are shooting up in millions” Bulcha said adding “with the food crises being aggravating this repeated claims from the government are not more than a simple psychological games targeted to calm down the public fears and avoid any further panic”

After paying a visit to the worst drought-hit areas of southern Ethiopia The top UN aid official John Holmes on Monday called for greater international efforts to help millions of Ethiopians suffering from a severe drought.

The Ethiopian Democratic Forces union (UEDF) has echoed the rejection over the "drought under control" claim as tragic.

“Beyond the false claims, it so tragic that the government of Ethiopia is weaponizing life aids for politics” Gebru Gebremariam,parlamaint member and higher representative of the Ethiopian Democratic Forces union(EDFU) said.

“People are being neglected of emergency aid for not voting to the ruling party during past election. This is pretty much true in Oromiya region” He added

“This is the worst drought in the history of Ethiopia even worse than the 1984’s famine but government is paying little attention to it” Gebru said

“The crises are way out control of the government. We urge on Ethiopian government to call the parliament for an emergency meeting and declare state emergency” He urged.

Currently some eight million people in Ethiopia need urgent food relief and another 4.6 million need emergency assistance, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The Oromo opposition led by Bulcha Demeksa strongly believes that the Ethiopian government is acting weak to bring control of the famine and also in outreaching the people in need of emergency aid.

“This is a weakness! Who is going to stand for the people in need of help if the government didn’t stand by the people?” Bulcha replies the question by a question.


There are rumors that the aid flows going to the troubled barren region of Somali are being diverted to the hands of the Ogaden rebels and to the hands of government supporters as well.

When asked if aid flows are being diverted, the OFDM opposition leader said his organization has no any proofs at hand.

“We have heard such rumors like every other Ethiopian, but we have no concert proof to it” Bulcha said.

An NGO worker who recently has been by the region on condition of anonymity told Sudan tribune that NGO workers are secretly handing over part of the aids to the ONLF militants on fear of attacks from the armed group and possible hindrance of food distribution.

The remote barren Somali region mainly of nomadic life styles and with the rebels being active there is the most dangerous and difficult area for aid workers to distribute food aid.

Recently a food aid which has been transported by train to the region was reported to have been seized by the ONLF rebels.

The volatile nature of the region has further complicated the drought crises as people can’t freely move to sell their resources and do trading to cope up the hunger by their own.

On the other hand government aid workers are being blamed by some ethnic-Somalis that the aid that arrives the region is on priority being distributed to the hands of government supporters only.

Unconfirmed sources also have indicated that private owned trucks which are willing to transport food to the region are being paid for their service from the food aid allocated to the region.

Estimations indicate that there are over one million people affected by the devastating drought in the Somali region alone.


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  • 7 September 2008 22:03, by Allaman Ikoilaman

    What about Ethiopia in Sudan tribune?. Tired of reading those news overleaf. Sorry, if any has been injured. Just condone it.


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