Victims of stadium fire claim they were abandoned
Various families of victims of a fire that started at the site of the Adey Abeba Stadium are coming forward accusing the management of ill treatment of their loved ones as they recover in various locations throughout the nation.
Despite first and second degree burns and some unable to work as a result, all the surviving laborers with the exception of one, have all been released from government run-hospitals and told to return to their hometowns, with some support from the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (Ethiopia) LTD.
Some families have travelled to the capital to update the dire situation of some and to speak to the management to no avail. Many are alleging the company of withholding wages, not providing needed medical or living support as they heal from what has been described as a horrific accident that has killed seven people.
“My brother (Belete Mekuria) has been ill-treated, he was given little attention for almost 11 days, when the fire occurred and he almost died,” Mekasha Mekuria told The Reporter.
Mekasha told The Reporter, his brother was left without support while he is unable to function fully and he is unable to work, struggling to survive, let alone attain to his medical need.
“He can’t work, he has no money and we don’t know what to do. The company has only promised to pay for his monthly check-up, and they are looking at paying him in the future with no regards to his immediate need,” he said.
“They place little attention to the fact that he is unable to work and is entitled to his pay,” he said.
Belete was one of the last two to be treated at Balcha Hospital. When The Reporter visited him a month ago, he was still in pain with visible burns in more than half of his body. He had little recollection of the incident, but remembered the painful days spent waiting for medical care and the friends that perished.
As the information became public, according to Mekasha, he was moved to Balcha and to one of the most sought after burn unit centers in the country.
The families of other victims sent to Shashemene two months ago such as Wondosen Demeke, Omer Abdela and Yalew Tsehaye, with severe visible burns to various parts of their bodies also made their voyage to the capital as a cry for help. They are alleging no financial support have been given to them, as they help their children recover with no support from the company or the government.
The fire started on August 8th, at a make-shift dormitory with no kitchen. It was substandard severely lacking with all the needed amenities, including kitchen and common areas.
In addition to the deaths and injuries, lots of property damage also occurred. Many workers were believed to have lost scarce belongings with no replacement.
The Reporter reached out to the management, including the Deputy General Manager of the China State Construction Engineering Corporation LTD, but there was no reply.
The Reporter was able to verify from multiple sources that the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia has continued to warn its citizens to be exemplary citizens while in Ethiopia and may have levied financial penalty on the management of the company for not revealing the incident to the embassy when it occurred and as a warning for others to be exemplary citizens in their adopted nation.