Homeless Ethiopians moved out of capital


The homeless
Homeless people live on a street corner, Monday, May 9, 2005 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. (Karel Prinsloo/AP Photo)
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia --Thousands of homeless people will be moved from the capital to the countryside before next month's millennium celebration and provided help with food, shelter and medicine, a development group said Tuesday.

Beggars are a common sight in Addis Ababa, a city of 5 million with an estimated 90,000 living on the streets.

Ethiopia is planning a 10-hour celebration in Meskel Square to mark the millenium, an event expected to draw tourists from around the world.

Elshadai Relief & Development Association, a local group that receives government funding, said $930,000 has been set aside to move some 5,700 people out of the capital in time for the celebrations.

The group said most are from the northern Tigray region and that Elshadai was simply sending them back home.

"It's good for the whole world, not only for Ethiopia," Elshadai spokesman Blen Yehdego said Tuesday. "Nobody wants to have this miserable life for their citizens."

Yehdego said only those who volunteer will be moved.

Government officials and did not immediately return calls for comment about the project, and calls to Hope Enterprises, a homeless advocacy group, were not returned Tuesday.


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