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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ethiopia Relocates 150,000 People in Eastern Somali Region in Five Months
By William Davison - Nov 29, 2010 8:36 AM ET

The Ethiopian government has relocated about 150,000 people in the eastern Somali region to more fertile areas in the past five months, the Minister for Federal Affairs said.

Scattered households have been brought together into villages to raise their “quality of life,” Shiferaw Teklemariam said in an interview today in the capital, Addis Ababa.

In the next seven months, another 70,000 households, or 350,000 people, will move into “communes” in the arid region, Shiferaw said. Similar programs are taking place in other states. About 45,000 households will be moved in Gambella, almost three-quarters of the population; 45,000 in Benishangul Gumuz; and 50,000 to 80,000 in the Afar region.

“It’s a very ambitious program,” Shiferaw said. “We don’t want anyone to be left behind” as the government targets economic growth of between 11 percent and 14.9 percent, he said.

The projects in the western Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz regions are three-year schemes to improve service provision, while the one-year programs in the Afar and Somali regions are primarily to resettle people in less arid areas near the Wabe Shebelle and Awash rivers, Shiferaw said.

The policy in Somali region was not designed to assist the government’s campaign against ethnic Somali rebels, although “it may help in the long run,” Shiferaw said. Neither is it related to the national plan to lease 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres) of “untouched” land for large-scale agriculture over the next 5 years, he said.

“Some people think the communes are to clear land to give to someone else, but this is not the case,” he said. “We have excess land for investors.”

People won’t be forced to move and have the right to return home, Shiferaw said. The government will not claim their old plots for at least two years.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-...-in-eastern-somali-region-in-five-months.html


Thoughts?
 
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I cannot speak on other regions, but what happening in the Ogaden/Somali region is forced relocation to stop the ONLF insurgency and create more room for Oil/Gas exploration.

People are being forced out of their historical clan land to help the Ethiopian government with its agenda. Moving nomadic people into a sedentary lifestyle will help control the movement of the whole region.150k people don’t move willingly within 5 months, also reports with Ethiopian military creating more barracks within civilian areas to control the insurgency
 

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I cannot speak on other regions, but what happening in the Ogaden/Somali region is forced relocation to stop the ONLF insurgency and create more room for Oil/Gas exploration.

People are being forced out of their historical clan land to help the Ethiopian government with its agenda. Moving nomadic people into a sedentary lifestyle will help control the movement of the whole region.150k people don’t move willingly within 5 months, also reports with Ethiopian military creating more barracks within civilian areas to control the insurgency
If it helps improving their way of life (moving to more fertile land etc) and at the same time weakens the ONLF, then it's a win-win for sure.

But I can't see how moving 150000 people out of the 4+ million population in Somali region will have a big impact, from a rebels perspective.
 
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If it helps improving their way of life (moving to more fertile land etc) and at the same time weakens the ONLF, then it's a win-win for sure.

But I can't see how moving 150000 people out of the 4+ million population in Somali region will have a big impact, from a rebels perspective.
Obviously, these people are being forced; they are not willingly packing up their bags and walking away from their historical land. The land they sit on, is where there is Oil and Gas. They don't have a choice in the matter

Again, moving 150k into other’s people land within 5 months will and undoubtedly cause tribal conflict

By most reports people are being forced to move to Jigjiga and other regions which there is no river. They are from Degahbur city and regions around it.

Most of these people are Nomadic people; they are being forced to stay in a certain area so the government has a tighter control in the region.

Anyways, most reports from the region says fighting has intensify since the peace agreement and this is another ploy to slow down the ONLF, since Oil/Gas exploration has been given to an Ethiopian company
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Even if the weakening of the ONLF is one of the reasons (and I see nothing wrong with that), the major reason is probably because the current situation in Somali region is completely unsustainable, just like it is in Afar region.

A huge proportion of the population is nomadic, illiterate, aid recipient, lacks medical care and clean water, etc. That lifestyle is not working anymore but it is artificially sustained through aid and that has got to stop. I don't see the problem with moving people to areas around rivers (so they can farm) and congregating them into villages (so that basic services like education, health care, sanitation, etc, can be provided).

What I do wonder is how different is it from Mengistu's relocation program (which apparently failed).

The one part I thought was amazing was highlighted in blue. 75% of Gambellans are being relocated. That's a drastic movement of the population.
 

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the major reason is probably because the current situation in Somali region is completely unsustainable, just like it is in Afar region.

A huge proportion of the population is nomadic, illiterate, aid recipient, lacks medical care and clean water, etc. That lifestyle is not working anymore but it is artificially sustained through aid and that has got to stop. I don't see the problem with moving people to areas around rivers (so they can farm) and congregating them into villages (so that basic services like education, health care, sanitation, etc, can be provided).
Hopefully this will help provide basic services (health care, education...) to the relocated peoples. As you said, the situation in Afar and Somali states is unsustainable.

What I do wonder is how different is it from Mengistu's relocation program (which apparently failed).
This can't be like Mengistu's disastrous program, if it is, it could have serious consequences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
^^ I don't know about the Somali region, but in Afar region it is not a new program. It's been there for a while (resettlement of nomads into farming communities around the Awash River), however I don't think it was in such a large scale.
 

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I don't understand how this is going to work with the Ogaden. Although the land is very unreliable as far as rains go, it's still a very attractive region for the kind of pastoralism that the majority of the population there practices that can't easily be transferred in other areas. I don't think they will be able to continue their practices if moved to a different region. They might get in conflict with the natives as well...

I guess we will just have to wait and see if this works...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
^^ They are moving within the same region, just to more fertile areas. IOW, they're being moved around the Wabi Shebelle River in Somali region.

I think the idea is also to make them into farmers, not just pastoralists.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I don't think they have much choice. Their lifestyle is just not sustainable anymore and the country is trying to wean itself off food aid so they'll have to get with the program. 29% of emergency aid recipients are in the Somali region, but they only make up 6% of the country's population.

This has been done in Afar for a few years and AFAIK it's worked. Those settled are now self-sufficient in food. However the scale of this program is unusual so yes, we'll see how it works out.
 

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Did Mengistu really have a relocating program? who was relocated??

I am not trying to start anything, but I honestly don't know. I was born the West and am just trying to learn more...
 

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I'd like to give the govt the benefit of the doubt...I also agree with almost all of the points mentioned above...

very impressed with the civilized discussion on a sensitive issue BTW...
 

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Growing up, my parents really didn't say much. They just said that the country was nationalized and a lot of people lost ownership of their land, especially if they had multiple pieces of land or different farms and where given out to people who basically couldn't manage them properly. I always thought that they were just given to the people who used to work on the land or people local. I had no idea they actually moved people around from province to province...

I think that if done correctly and fairly, it would be beneficial to the country. Other than that I can't really say more. Family usually have strong opinions, understandably so, so I always take what is said with a grain of salt, as with everything but its hard cause there is not that much information about it, or as much as I would like.
 

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Even if the weakening of the ONLF is one of the reasons (and I see nothing wrong with that), the major reason is probably because the current situation in Somali region is completely unsustainable, just like it is in Afar region.

A huge proportion of the population is nomadic, illiterate, aid recipient, lacks medical care and clean water, etc. That lifestyle is not working anymore but it is artificially sustained through aid and that has got to stop. I don't see the problem with moving people to areas around rivers (so they can farm) and congregating them into villages (so that basic services like education, health care, sanitation, etc, can be provided).

What I do wonder is how different is it from Mengistu's relocation program (which apparently failed).

The one part I thought was amazing was highlighted in blue. 75% of Gambellans are being relocated. That's a drastic movement of the population.
I have to say I don't agree with you at all. How can you say that the nomadic lifestyle is unsustainable? It has been sustainable for thousands of years. Do you seriously think that if you give nomads hoes that they'll just settle, abandon their cattle and start farming just like that? There is this disdain in the modern world against pastoralist communities which I frankly find unacceptable. Pastoralists are actually very smart people who have found ways of sustaining themselves in very harsh environments. And pray tell, what's so exciting about being a subsistence farmer in Ethiopia? There are millions of those who also require food aid every year.
Also, removing a population from an area to extinguish rebellions is a very old trick that has been used all over the world. Even Mengistu's policy of resettling farmers was at its core an attempt to deny a support base for the TPLF and other rebels. I accept that the Somali people face a lot of problems, but I don't think the solution is cramming them in "villages" and forcing them into farmers. If the government is genuine in its support of the Somalis or other pastralists, then there are multiple ways it can help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's fine you disagree, but I'd prefer it if you didn't insult me by claiming that I have disdain for the pastoralist lifestyle. Those who wish to remain in that mode and can sustain themselves without receiving aid should and can do what they wish, but they're not the ones we're talking about.

How is the lifestyle still sustainable? 29% of emergency aid recipients would not be located in that region alone if it weren't a problem. The erratic rainfall is getting worse and has meant that they cannot rely on it anymore for themselves nor their animals. Their children are uneducated because you can't have ambulatory schools for each family - if I'm not mistaken, they have the lowest literacy rates in the country, they lack access to medical care which means high maternal and child death, etc etc.

What are those ways of letting them keep their lifestyle without aid and while giving them access to these services? Or should they go without these services for the sake of maintaining their lifestyle? We can't keep relying on aid, that is very clear.

Second, the main complaint you always hear from Somalis and Afaris is that their regions are neglected and left behind. How can this be remedied while keeping nomadic cultures? I can't think of one place in the planet where it's been achieved, but I'm willing to learn.

The reason settled agriculture was started by humans to begin with was because they wanted to secure their food supply. It's not a big stretch for this to continue happening in modern times.

I'd be interested in whatever solution you think would work.
 

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It might be a good idea to examine how oil rich nations dealt or are dealing with the Bedouin...Not that it necessarily applies to the Afar/Somali in Ethiopia, but it might provide some insights in what worked & is not working in making their lives better...

Ultimately though, the nomads themselves ought to be consulted in any plans that involve their desert lifestyle, their attachment to the lands of their ancestors etc... as the primary stakeholders, they should have input in what they want their government (regional govt) to do, in order to facilitate them with sustainable access to services...
 
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