You are currently viewing Three Ethiopian truck drivers and one repairman die from heat in Djibouti; truck drivers’ association blames owners

Three Ethiopian truck drivers and one repairman die from heat in Djibouti; truck drivers’ association blames owners

(Photo: Ethiopian Embassy in Djibouti)

Addis Abeba – At least three Ethiopian truck drivers and one repairman have died in the past two weeks, and two additional drivers have been hospitalized, all due to the extreme temperatures in Djibouti.

In an interview with Addis Standard, Solomon Zewdu, the General Manager of the Ethiopian Heavy Truck Drivers Association, revealed that vehicle owners, in an effort to avoid financial losses from having their vehicles idle in Ethiopia, are dispatching drivers to Djibouti without any cargo.

“The drivers are compelled to travel to Djibouti and remain there without their freight to avoid termination from their jobs,” Solomon explained. “This practice exposes the drivers and their assistants to Djibouti’s extreme temperatures, putting them at risk of severe, potentially fatal heat-related injuries.”

Yosef Getahun, a truck driver who also spoke with Addis Standard, confirmed that they are often without work for over five days before it is their turn to work, during which they endure life-threatening conditions and severe health issues due to the extreme heat.

“Temperatures can rise up to 50 degrees Celsius,” Yosef emphasized. “This led to the deaths of two drivers in May 2024, with one found dead in his sleep.”

Yosef further specified that the most extreme temperatures are encountered in Djibouti itself and the Degab Sheraton area.

He elaborated that the wait times for previously arrived vehicles to depart, allowing them to proceed in turn, have demonstrably contributed to the tragic fatalities.

Solomon elaborated on the additional hardships faced by drivers while stranded in Djibouti.

“Beyond the life-threatening conditions, they are burdened with substantial expenses for parking and other associated fees,” he said. “In contrast, once reaching Djibouti, vehicle owners are no longer responsible for such costs.”

The drivers, however, are subjected to excessive charges for tolls, parking, and other ancillary fees, according to Solomon.

The general manager of the association contends that dispatching drivers to Djibouti’s port has a deleterious effect on the Ethiopian economy. Solomon underscored that each driver incurs daily expenses exceeding 2,000 birr, resulting in a cost of over 20,000 birr for a ten-day layover.

He emphasized that these expenditures accrue to the benefit of Djibouti’s economy while inflicting significant damage on Ethiopia’s.

Solomon implored vehicle owners to acknowledge the gravity of this issue and to refrain from prematurely dispatching drivers.

He stressed that “the practice of compelling drivers to undertake trips to Djibouti and remain there idly until their loading time arrives incurs substantial economic and human losses.” AS

Source: Link to the Post

Leave a Reply