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Water crisis in Ethiopia


By Staff Reporter Mark Wolde

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  More than 62 million people are impacted by the Ethiopia water crisis; in fact, 7.5 percent of the global water crisis is in Ethiopia alone according to The Joint Monitoring Program (JMP), a global database of water, sanitation, and hygiene data, report.

Cont Here

In rural Ethiopia, many women and children walk more than three hours to collect water, often from shallow wells or unprotected ponds they share with animals. Recurring droughts result in famine, food shortages, and water-related diseases, as people are forced to rely heavily on contaminated or stagnant water sources. Still, Ethiopia has a high mortality rate caused in part by the water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) problem in the country. One in every 17 children does not live to see their fifth birthday, and diarrhea disease is the leading cause of death says a survey.

The inhabitants of the capital of Ethiopia suffer widespread lack of water supply. There is a great public outcry due to the critical shortage of water as the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) began rationing tap water.  This is the worst water crisis that the city has seen in the past decades, said one resident.


The capital has long suffered from water shortages, the result of an aging and limited water supply system, lack of water storage and a rapidly growing population.

The City Water and Sewerage Authority were only able to deliver below 75 percent of water demand for the estimated 5 million inhabitants before the rationing. After the rationing, the residents of Addis Ababa are getting water intermittently and unevenly. Addis Ababa has 330 kebeles (local administrative units) organized in 10 sub-cities and the allocation of water varies from every two weeks to every week. In some cases, some kebeles do not get water for a month due to the landscape being hilly. 


With the current severe scarcity of water that has gripped the city, most residents are forced to walk more than 3km, to fetch water by car, horse carriage or donkey. Those who could afford order vendors to bring it to their homes.


Delivering tap water is the responsibility of the city’s Water and Sewerage Authority. However due to the inability to meet resident’s demand for potable water; the Authority has begun rationing and delivers water by tankers to the mountainous part of the city.

Individuals and business institutions complained, saying “we are forced to buy water from vendors and water tank truck owners even though distributing water is the sole task of the Authority. We are being charged outrageously.


Amsale who is a mother of three kids said, (I pay less than 10 Birr ($0.30) per 1000 liters of water to AAWSA, however when I buy 20 litters Jerry can, it costs me  10 Birr ($0.30). The purchased water is not 100% safe either, we use it for domestic purposes, washing and cleaning the house. She further said the rationing of water affected our sleeping pattern because when the water comes it comes at late hours between 1:00 AM and 4:00 AM.


An opportunity is created for Girma and his friends who distribute water to their district and the vicinity by horse carriage. Girma said he delivers 10 jerry cans of water at one trip for a fee of 100 Birr ($3.00), “I make 6-10 trips a day depending on the distance where water is available. My friend and I make between 600 and 1000 birr a day ($20-$33). However, when it is my district’s turn with the rationing we go up to 5km to fetch water which is time-consuming and less money for us.”


Human rights violations in Cameroon noted by bishop


War-torn country remains unstable


By Staff reporter Jeff McCoy


Since the 1980’s the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) has remained in power. In 2016, as the government attempted to change the education and legal system practiced in the English speaking part of the country, protests erupted and quickly deteriorated into a war that has now seen hundreds killed, jailed and in some cases, people have just disappeared. 


Now “Amba Boys” fight for complete outright independence as Ambazonia, a country that was recognized by the United Nations in 1962. With the war in full swing, human rights violations are being reported.


Bishop Abraham Kome of Bafang, the president of the bishops’ conference, has noted that conditions there are bleak for civilians including women and children. “We have seen the difficulty with which political parties have to manifest. We see - and I say


this with a lot of emotion - when we visit our country’s prisons, what we see there is poor infrastructure, poor treatment of inmates, and overcrowding in prison cells. When one sees that, one can only affirm if one has to speak the truth, that human rights have deteriorated in our country,” he said during a Crux interview.


The war has now moved to the world stage. Human rights groups have denounced the slaughter of civilians and the treatment of prisoners. The Missions Tribune reported several months ago of a video that was acquired by the newspaper of two mothers and two children being shot by a firing squad. One of the children was an infant still on his mother’s back.


A U.S. Department of State report noted: “Human rights issues included arbitrary and unlawful killings by security forces as well as armed Anglophone separatists; forced disappearances by security forces, Boko Haram, and separatists; torture by security forces and Anglophone separatists; prolonged arbitrary detentions including of suspected Anglophone separatists by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; violence and harassment targeting journalists by government agents; periodic government restrictions on access to the internet; laws authorizing criminal libel; substantial interference with the right of peaceful assembly; refoulement of refugees and asylum seekers by the government; restrictions on political participation; violence against women, in part due to government inaction; unlawful recruitment or use of child soldiers by Anglophone separatists, government-supported vigilance committees, and Boko Haram; violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons, and criminalization of consensual same-sex relations; child labor, including forced child labor; and violations of workers’ rights.”


CPDM leader Paul Biya has been president since 1982 and now finds himself in the awkward position of defending his military’s actions and facing a two-front war, one with the Amba Boys to the southwest and northwest and one against Boko Haram to the north. Both of these threats are not to be taken lightly. The Amba Boys are serious and dedicated warriors. So dedicated were they that at the beginning of the war many went into battle without shoes or rifles. Even today they are ill-equipped but still inflicting serious damage to the well-armed government forces.


Photos and videos obtained by The Missions Tribune have shown homes burned, women and children slaughtered, and unarmed young men gunned down to keep them from joining the Amba Boys in their struggle for independence.   


A Human Rights Watch report detailed some of the damage the war has caused. It stated in part, “In the South West and North West, government security forces have committed extrajudicial executions, burned property, carried out arbitrary arrests, and tortured detainees. A Human Rights Watch report documented a range of abuses by both sides in the Anglophone regions, including arson attacks on homes and schools. According to the International Crisis Group, government forces and armed separatists killed over 420 civilians in the regions since the crisis escalated in 2017. 


“The humanitarian consequences of the Boko Haram attacks and separatist insurgency are of growing concern. As of November, the United Nations estimated that more than 244,000 civilians were displaced in the Far North and  437,500 in the Anglophone North West and South West regions. About 32,600 Cameroonians found refuge in Nigeria. Also, Cameroon has continued to forcibly return Nigerian asylum seekers, fleeing Boko Haram attacks in northeastern Nigeria.”

The U.S. State Department reported noted “Overcrowding remained a significant problem in most prisons, especially in major urban centers.  Officials held prisoners in dilapidated, colonial-era prisons, where the number of inmates was as much as five times the intended capacity.  Prisons generally had separate wards for men, women, and children.  Authorities often held detainees in pretrial detention and convicted prisoners together.  In many prisons toilets were nothing more than common pits.  In some cases women benefitted from better living conditions, including improved toilet facilities and less crowded living quarters.  Authorities claimed to hold sick persons separately from the general prison population, but this was often not the case.

“According to prison administration officials, the country had 79 operational prisons, with an intended capacity of 17,915 but which held close to 30,000 inmates as of June.  For example, the central prison in Ngaoundere, Adamawa Region, was initially designed to accommodate 150 inmates.  Successive expansions raised the capacity to 500 inmates.  As of June 19, the prison held 1,600 inmates, more than two-thirds of whom had not been convicted of any crime.  A third of the inmates were awaiting trial, hearings had begun for another third, and one-third had been convicted.”

On October 7, Biya was re-elected as president in a greatly disputed election. Bishop Kome stated in the Crux interview, “The electoral code does not guarantee the transparency and authenticity of electoral results.” The bishop, along with many others, has pushed for a change in the electoral process including a single ballot and complete computerized system to allow transparency in the election and the results of the election.


Amba Boys are surprised that it is taking so long for the rest of the world to see the destruction of their rights, families, and country.


Addis Ababa, December 20/2029 – Ethiopia’s first satellite called ETRSS-1(Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite-1  has been launched on Friday December 20 at 6:21 local time and at 03.21hours GMT from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Xinzhou, Shanxi Province, China becoming the 99th satellite to be launched in 2019 by world countries. . The 70- kilogram remote sensing satellite was carried on board a Long March 4B rocket. The satellite will operate from space around 700 kilometers above the surface of earth according to Sisay Tola state minister of Ministry of Innovation and Technology.

A team of Ethiopian senior officials, trained engineers, members of the house of people’s representatives, officials from Ethiopia’s space science institute and journalists traveled to China to witness the launching ceremony.


Simultaneously, in Ethiopia, the launching ceremony was attended by senior officials from its command and control center located at the height of the 3,200- meter mountain in the Entoto space observatory facility the only of its kind in East Africa.


Ethiopia has built a privately funded astronomical observatory with a $3 million investment in 2016 taking the first step towards creating a fully-fledged national space agency.  The observatory includes two large telescopes and a spectrograph that measures wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. The goal is to provide a facility in which to train local astronomers, scientists, and engineers, and establish a local culture of innovation according to the Ethiopian Space Science Society (ESSS).


At 9:00 AM local time, another ceremony was undertaken at Meskel square at the heart of the city with ordinary folks from all walks of life and some officials from the Ministry of Innovation and Science and space technology. Several media stations were also present during the occasion.

Ethiopian Space Science Society said Ethiopia spends up to $8 million annually on communication satellites. One of the biggest domestic projects that need satellite help is the Grand Renaissance Dam. For about three years, the dam has been surveyed by satellite, and the soil test process has been conducted by satellite.


According to the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI) Deputy Director-General Abdissa Yilma the observation satellite will be used to improve weather monitoring in Ethiopia. He stated that the main focus of Ethiopia’s first satellite will be to gather data inputs related to water, agriculture, climate change, and environmental protection.


The space program which was initiated in 2016 by the then Minister of Science and technology, Dr. Abiy Ahmed continued on a forward trajectory to bear today’s fruit. It is a double victory for Ethiopia and Ethiopian people seeing the launch of our first satellite a few weeks after the Prime Minister won and received a Nobel Prize said the Deputy Director-General.


Currently, there are 21 Ethiopian engineers 4 women among those involved in the design and manufacturing of the first satellite. “The satellite’s control and command station is in Ethiopia,” said Dr. Solomon Belay Tessema, director-general at ESSTI, which is based at Addis Ababa University.


The satellite is estimated to cost Ethiopia around $8 million without taking into consideration insurance and training costs. The cost reportedly includes the design, development, and manufacturing of the satellite, which is done by both Ethiopian professionals and their Chinese counterparts.


By launching its satellite, Ethiopia aims to build space science technology application capacity and skills of its space science engineers through collaborations with different countries’ space scientists and institutions so that Ethiopian scientists will be in a position to design, build and launch the second satellite independently.


The nation also wants to use the satellite for social and economic development purposes and will save up to $10 million it would otherwise spend to purchase data on agriculture, mining, etc., from other countries. Ethio Telecom alone spends $12 million on annual fees for satellite services and the expense soars when satellite services are utilized by media, aviation, and national security institutions. Experts said that the fact that national access to satellite communication and information through satellite depends on the goodwill of service providers, which makes it essential for the country to launch its own satellite. 


Therefore, in addition to ETRSS-1 Ethiopia plans to lunch two more satellites, communication and broadcasting in the near future. Ethiopia became the 10th country in Africa to have its own satellite after its neighbor Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Rwanda, Ghana, Angola, and Nigeria.


Mr. Abdissa Yilma, Deputy Director General (ESSTI) added that the country isn't getting too ambitious just yet, with the focus on space research that can directly help the country. "We are in no hurry to go to deep space."

 Khashoggi  Cont from front page 

The news shocked the world as the investigation into his death revealed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have ordered the death squad to take action and end the life of the reporter. Khashoggi went to the consulate to get paperwork that was required to marry his Turkish fiancée. He was never seen again.


Khashoggi spent the last year of his life living in exile in the United States critically writing about the Saudi royal family and human rights violations in that country. His death brought worldwide attention to the very issue that he wrote about. 


The U.S. Congress condemned the killing and has believed that Prince Mohammed bin Salman had played a part in the death citing several of the killers worked directly for the prince. The U.S. has sanctioned 17 Saudis suspected of being involved with the murder.


Saud al-Qahtani, a former advisor to the crown prince, is among those sanctioned. The Saudi attorney general’s office said Monday he had no proven involvement in the killing.


President Donald Trump also condemned the murder but has stood by the prince and defended the U.S.-Saudi relationship.


Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to death and another three people were given a total of 24 years in prison according to a statement from the attorney general that was read on Saudi state TV. It failed to mention the names or the breakdown of the sentences. All of the condemned can appeal these preliminary verdicts.


The court also ordered Saudi consul-general in Istanbul at the time, Mohammed al-Otaibi, to be released from prison after the verdicts were announced, according to state TV. However, the U.S. has sanctioned al-Otaibi due to his “involvement in gross violations of human rights.” The Department of State has also issued travel bans against the consul general’s immediate family.


The verdicts were not well received abroad. United Nations Human Rights expert Agnes Callamard, who also wrote the investigative report for the U.N. on Khashoggi’s death, took to Twitter saying “Bottom line: the hit-men are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. That is the antithesis of Justice. It is a mockery.”


According to the Associated Press Amnesty International pronounced the outcome a “whitewash.” Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, stated “The decision is too unlawful to be acceptable” in a text message to the Associated Press.  


In Turkey, Yasin Aktay, a government official in Turkey’s ruling party and a friend of Khashoggi stated on Twitter “As if they murdered Jamal Khashoggi again.”


The international backlash has not taken hold in Saudi Arabia as the people there, especially young people, rally around the crown prince and look favorably on the changes that he is ushering into the country.


The country has opened up to boost tourism and has lifted restrictions in many parts of the country to worldwide travelers to change the world’s view of the country and bring in tourist dollars.

From right to left second one Mr. Sisay Tola State Minister for Ministry of Innovation and Tecnology. Last one on far left, Deputy Director General Abdissa Yilma of ESSTI. Photo by Missions Tribune staff reporter Mark Wolde

Media and news crew at the launching cermony at Meskel Sqare Addis Ababa.Photo by Missions Tribune staff reporter Mark Wolde

Center, Mr. Sisay Tola Photo by Missions Tribune staff reporter Mark Wolde

Jerry Cans being delivered

Photo by MT staff reporter Mark Wolde

Addis Ababa is an example of the general situation in the country where the crisis is devastating. Water scarcity may not be an isolated case for the capital because recurrent water shortage is worse among regional towns and rural areas. The problem outside of Addis Ababa is more critical. Despite the progress and improvements of potable water supply by the Federal government for the last five years, the scarcity of such basic resource remains to be an unbearable challenge for the society.


In rural Ethiopia, where 85% of the population lives, many communities still suffer from a lack of safe drinking water.  According to the central statistics agency (CSA) report, the burden of water collection does not fall equally on all household members.  Of those household members who collect water, 75 percent are female and 25 percent male. This gender breakdown is consistent for both urban and rural areas. The burden and responsibility of collecting water falls on sons or daughters. By age, younger household members are more likely to collect water, but this differs by place of residence; while only 22 percent of those who collect water in urban areas are children (ages 7 – 14), in rural areas, nearly 37 percent of water collectors are children.

A ten-year-old girl retrieves water for her family.

Photo by MT staff reporter Mark Wolde

In the rural areas of Ethiopia, women and children walk up to six hours to collect water. They collect water from unprotected ponds which they share with animals. Others collect from wells. Both of these methods can be easily contaminated when rainwater washes waste into the pond or well. Under half of the population in Ethiopia has access to an improved water supply.

While Ethiopia has relatively abundant water resources, it is considered ‘water-stressed’ due to rapid population growth over the last decade. Estimates of renewable annual groundwater per year range from 13.5 to 28 billion cubic meters, of which only about 2.6 billion cubic meters are currently exploitable.


Ethiopia has 12 river basins with an annual runoff volume of 122 billion cubic meters of water and an estimated 2.6 to 6.5 billion cubic meters of groundwater potential. This corresponds to an average of 1,575 cubic meters of physically available water per person per year, a relatively large volume by comparison. However, due to large spatial and temporal variations in rainfall and lack of storage, water is often not available where and when needed. Only about three percent of water resources are used in Ethiopia of which only about 11% (0.3% of the total) is used for domestic water supply, according to the World Resources Institute.


Ironically, water supply services in Ethiopia are among the lowest in Africa, with an average consumption of only 15 liters per capita per day in rural areas with service radius of 1.5 KM and 20 liters per capita per day with service radius of .05 KM for urban areas, which is far below the World Health Organization standard of 45 liters per person per day, experts argue.


Uneven distribution of water resources, both spatially and temporally, exacerbated by extreme climate shocks, poses a continuous challenge to water resources management and service delivery for human consumption and productive use. Ethiopia has abundant water resources, both surface, and groundwater. Limited water storage capacity, verifiable information on surface and groundwater dynamics and water quality prevent the country from capitalizing on these resources. Water resource constraints are further exacerbated by increasing competition among the different sectors and the effects of climate change admit the government.

Girma waiting to deliver water.

Photo by MT Staff reporter Mark Wolde

Donkeys loaded with several Jerry cans to fetch water in Oromiya region.

Photo by MT staff reporter Mark Wolde

Motorists Baffled and frustrated as fuel shortage hits the nation

By Mark Wolde

January 3, 2020

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia A fuel shortage has been affecting Ethiopia's main cities since Saturday, December 14, resulting in long lines at gas stations and transportation disruptions in Addis Ababa the Capital, as well as regional cities and towns. The reason for the shortage remains unclear and It is currently unknown as to when the situation will return to normal. 

Several gas stations have run out of fuel and motorists have been forced to drive around the city looking and hoping to find a station with fuel. Supplies of diesel are low but available while gasoline is completely out in many of the service stations I went said Gizachew a taxi driver. He further indicated that some service stations are selling clandestinely, much more than the standard set price for gasoline Birr 21.53 ($0.68) and diesel Birr 18.75 ($0.59) per liter. The underground price goes as high as 100 Birr ($3.15).

The country has been experiencing sporadic shortages of fuel since 2017 due to protests and blocked main roads by locals in the regional states who erected road barriers preventing oil tankers from carrying the fuel from neighboring Djibouti and Sudan, the routes through which the nation’s fuel is transported, according to the Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise (EPSE).

However, the source and reasons for the current shortage are not known by the EPSE and service station owners. According to Alemayehu Tsegaye, a public relations senior expert at EPSE, no reduction was made in the volume of fuel import. The country is importing daily the same quantity of fuel as it has been in the past few days via Djibouti and Sudan with more than 300 fuel tankers, he said. Commenting on the fuel reserve of Ethiopia, he indicated that there is a reserve of 369,000 metric tons of fuel in 13 fuel depots found across the country.

EPSE had planned to import 987,751 Metric Tons of refined petroleum products from July to September 2019. The performance report shows 932,057 Metric Tons of refined petroleum products have been imported during the period; indicating an accomplishment of 94% of the supply plan. The payment settlement shows that more than Birr 20.53 Billion ($662,258,064) have been paid for the petroleum product supplied in the period mentioned. The country spent Birr 3,356,541,000 ($108,275,516) and Birr 11,977,712,000 ($387,022,968) to purchase 140,723 metric tons of gasoline and 577,782metric tons of diesel for the said three months. The Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise annually imports four million metric tons of petroleum products valued at three billion dollars.

The Enterprise which has 13 strategic reserve depots throughout the nation is a sole distributor of petroleum products to  26 oil companies across the country that operate around 800 fuel stations, of which 120 are found in Addis Ababa.

With a population of more than 100 million, Ethiopia has far fewer gas stations than its neighboring countries. Kenya with 52.5 million people has over 2000 gas stations while Uganda with 44.2 million people has more than 2500 gas stations.

The capital city, Addis Ababa requires 130 additional fuel stations to adequately satisfy demands to the city’s more than 460,000 registered vehicles, according to a study conducted at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The city consumes around 65pc of the 1.7 million liters to 2 million liters of total daily consumption of gasoline in the country. Annual consumption of gasoline is 603,220,052 liters and 2,876,885,117 liters of diesel respectively according to EPSE.

Four major oil companies, National Oil Company (NOC), Total Ethiopia, Yetebaberut Beherawi Petroleum (YBP) and OiLibya have the lions share, 92pc of the retail market share in the capital. They have their own depots and tanker trucks to transport fuel to their franchised service stations once they receive their quota from EPSE.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, as well as the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas, said they are not authorized to control fuel distribution in the country, pointing the finger at EPSE.

Sources at the Ministry of Trade & Industry said “the problem is the illegal black market trade,” the oil distribution sector is marred by illicit trade, adulteration, and sabotage that often lead to artificial fuel shortage.

According to industry experts, transporters do not have a cargo tracking system and the fuel tankers at the gas stations are not automated making them prone to theft and adulteration. “The low-profit margin contributes to the growing contraband trade. We do not understand how the government fails to realize the gloomy picture and take appropriate measures,” the source added.

To ensure that petroleum and petroleum products meet national standards and specifications, the Ethiopian Parliament has approved a bill to establish a regulatory authority for petroleum and petroleum products supply and distribution. The authority has to monitor the reliability of the supply, availability, distribution as well as the conformity of their use with their intended purpose. Its mandate also includes coordination and support to companies involved in petroleum and petroleum products supply and distribution activities including the legalities of contracts. The regulatory authority will decide the quality and quantity of petroleum and petroleum products to be held in reserve.


Employees at fuel station idle while waiting on fuel. Photo by MT staff reporter Mark Wolde