ESAT News (April 30, 2016)
On April 11, 2016, ESAT published an exclusive story that the Ethiopian government had stopped the fundraising campaign by UN agencies to help millions of Ethiopians facing famine. In that story titled “Ethiopian government stops fundraising campaign by UN agencies for famine to save image,” ESAT, based on information obtained from reliable sources, reported that “the Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Ambassador Berhane Gebrekiristos has asked the Addis Ababa representative of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to stop the fundraising campaign that began on March 23, 2016” as such campaign would “tarnish the image of the country.”
The 90 day campaign was officially announced on March 23, 2016 in a statement released by the UNOCHA office in Addis Ababa that said “humanitarian partners launch campaign to address funding gaps in Ethiopia drought response” but was cut short in its second week after the meeting between Amb. Gebrekiristos and representatives of the OCHA office in Addis Ababa, according to ESAT’s sources.
The UNOCHA office, however, issued at least two statements rebutting the story – an internal email on April 12, 2016 from the head of the OCHA Ethiopia Office as well as an official press release issued on Thursday April 28, 2016 – that state “the story is false.”
Managing Editor at ESAT, Sisay Agena says ESAT stands by the truthfulness of the story and the credibility of its sources. “The campaign by the agencies was stopped on orders from the government and resumed on April 26, 2016 when the government became part of the campaign,” said Sisay.
Indeed, UNOCHA released a statement on April 26, 2016 saying “Ethiopian Government and Humanitarian partners kick off donor capital visits to raise awareness on the urgent need for increased funding for Ethiopia’s El Niño-induced droughts.”
“The government stopped the campaign by the agencies saying it would tarnish the image of the country but resumed the campaign once it became part of it. This is in the nature of the TPLF government. It clearly wants to be in control of the money being raised but its track record show abuse of such funds collected in the name of starving people,” said a close observer of the crises in Ethiopia.