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People affected by drought say they have not received food aid

ESAT (December 22, 2015)

Residents of Raya Qobo, Amhara region, said that they have not received food aid that the government promised. ESAT contacted residents in the area who said the Ethiopian government promised them food aid on the ground that they would not migrate to the cities.

The source who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution by the government security said, “We have kept our promise and stayed in our place; but we have not received aid so far; TPLF is deceiving us.”

It was stated that households with 6-7 family members suffered the most.

The source told Mesay Mekonnen of ESAT that the government lied them regarding the distribution of food aid. He said “the government officials knew the seriousness of the problem people are facing currently, but don’t seem to care if people live or die.” It was learnt that the households had to make a difficult choice: stay in their villages and starve to death or migrate to towns and lose everything they had built all their lives.

“Government officials tell us that aid is coming soon; however no aid has so far been delivered and we are pondering to migrate to towns,” the source told ESAT on the Phone from Qobo.

Asked about crop production, the source said the farmers in Raya Qobo did not hope to harvest sufficient crops next year. He said the crops have already wilted and in some cases dried completely. On the contrary, the government media is showing video footages of irrigation projects from unidentified place in a bid to show Ethiopians and the international community that agriculture production in the country is booming. “We have no hopes about the future,” the source said.

Asked about the magnitude of the drought, the farmer interviewed by ESAT said everyone in his village was equally affected.

The source also said they were being harassed by authorities for enquiring about the food aid. “The government has gone to the extent of kidnapping people who enquire about the food aid even at this critical time.”

Raya Qobo is one of the most drought affected areas in North Wello.

Earlier reports filed by ESAT show that Farmers in Kobo and Wag Himra, Wollo rebutted government reports that there were no children killed as a result of the calamity. They said the ongoing drought is no different from the 1984 as they have left with nothing to live on.

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