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Farmers who flee famine speak from the capital

ESAT News (December 23,2015)

Farmers from drought stricken regions of Ethiopia who took refuge in the capital Addis Ababa say they flee from the impending famine to save their lives. They also said they fled their village as they were unable to pay the debt they owe to the government; loan that they used for the purchase of fertilizers and which the government expect them to pay back regardless of their current situation.

ESAT learned that local government officials jail farmers who could not pay their loans. The farmers currently live in a make shift shelter in a section of the capital called Zenebework.

A father of seven, who came from Gojam with his children and his aging mother said a number of farmers have left from his village to save their lives. He also said the burden and consequence of not being able to pay the debt they owe to the government was another reason for fleeing their villages.

Two older farmers who said they came from Mekelle, Tigray, said they run away because authorities would put them in jail as they have no money to pay for the loan. They also spoke of absence of drinking water in their villages. A mother, also from Tigray said she had to leave her village as she had nothing to eat.

International aid agencies report about 16 million people would face famine by the turn of the New Year.

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