Ethiopians Grieve ‘at least 100’ Virus Deaths in U.S.

ADDIS ABABA – News of the deaths of dozens of Ethiopians living in the US from coronavirus has angered many back home.

Little was known before about the situation of fellow citizens abroad, especially in countries hit hard by the virus.

VOA Amharic quotes Ethiopia’s top diplomat in the US, Fitsum Arega, as saying: “At least 100 Ethiopian nationals and Ethiopian-born individuals lost their lives to Covid-19”.

The US as a whole has reported more than 34,000 deaths from the virus – the highest in the world. Ethiopia meanwhile has reported three.

With a strict state of emergency declared, many discussions are taking place online. Comments have ranged from “very sad news”, to “tough time for Ethiopians abroad” and “shocking”.

The death of Ethiopians in US is tough in many ways.

Believed to be the second largest community after Nigerians, Ethiopians in the US have long had a huge influence back at home politically and economically.

What’s worse is that families can’t bury their loved ones in Ethiopian soil because of a ban on the return of any bodies during the pandemic.

By Ameyu Etana, BBC

Image: A body wrapped in plastic that was unloaded from a refrigerated truck is handled by medical workers wearing personal protective equipment at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City [John Minchillo/AP Photo]