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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 April, 2004, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
In Pictures: Ethiopia's great resettlement
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The Ethiopian government has begun relocating two million peasant farmers and their families from arid eastern areas to the west, as part of a $200m resettlement programme.
relocated families
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So far about 45,000 farmers and their families have been moved to resettlement camps. One is in the village of Chate, in the Ilubabor province, within the Oromia region.
Ethiopian woman on the move
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But problems are emerging. Farmers complain of deplorable conditions in the camps. "Life here is very difficult. I cannot bear it any longer... I am now going back to Hararghe. I am never coming back here," says young mother Sahara Shaybe Omar.
Malnourished children at the camps
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A recent World Food Programme survey at resettlement camps in Oromiya revealed high levels of malnutrition among children. "Our children don't get enough food and are becoming weak," says father-of-three Mahamade Suleiman.
Women and children at the resettlement camps
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The government defends the programme saying it has had favourable results where implemented. It says this is a lasting solution to food shortages in Ethiopia and promises to address the current shortcomings.
makeshift tent at the new resettlement camps
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Despite these assurances, some farmers have had enough of the poor conditions. "They told us that we would get good farmland, but everything here including the weather is difficult," says one farmer at a camp in Oromiya region.
Peasant farmers returning to the highlands from the resettlement camps.
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Many are now trekking back to their former homes in Hararghe. The journey may take a month but they are convinced life is better at home than in the camps.

Ethiopians 'rely on food imports'
03 Mar 04  |  Science/Nature
Ethiopians move to fertile land
14 Mar 03  |  Africa

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