While climate change is not the only push factor for migration out of the village, it acts as a ‘threat multiplier,’ worsening existing insecurities.
“I am landless, the land I am currently using is rented to me and it is very small. Now imagine what the drought will do?” says Ayalew Asifaw, a 33-year-old father. “If the land was big, I would grow a greater variety and quantity of crops — that way I could mitigate some losses, but with the size of my farm when the drought comes, what few crops I have are lost. If I get a chance today, I will leave because I will not sit and watch the drought destroy my family.”
Asifaw is no stranger to irregular migration. On three occasions he has sought to reach Saudi Arabia. He failed on the first two attempts, while during the third he managed to stay only for 18 days before being arrested by Saudi authorities and deported back to Ethiopia. It is now two years since he has been back in Berebeyu, but the prospect of staying permanently is fading. He has not ruled out the possibility of attempting to migrate a fourth time, despite the high cost involved and his increasing vulnerability upon each return.