20,000 Ethiopians Evacuated

News and Press Release
Originally published
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -- The Awash River has flooded one of Ethiopia's two sugar factories, forcing the evacuation of 20,000 people, the state-run Ethiopian News Agency reported Sunday.

The river is swollen because of heavy seasonal rains. It broke through three dikes on Saturday and flooded the Wonji sugar factory and its 17,290 acres of sugar cane, the agency said.

The 20,000 people, most of them laborers and their families, were evacuated to the nearby town of Nazareth, while another 2,300 fled and sought shelter on a hilltop overlooking the factory, the agency said.

Public Works Minister Haile Assegide said one body was found floating near the factory.

Haile said floods threatened the other sugar factory at Metehara, 19 miles downstream from Wonji.

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