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International NGOs campaign against construction of Gibe 3 Dam in Ethiopia

An artist's impression of the Gibe 3 Dam

Some international NGOs are calling for a halt in the construction of Ethiopia’s biggest hydro-dam, the Gibe 3 Dam.

According to the NGOs, if the dam is constructed, it will end the natural flow of the Omo River in Ethiopia, end the river’s natural flood cycle and it will destroy harvests and grazing lands along the river and fisheries in Lake Turkana, which is the world’s largest desert lake.

“The dam will devastate the unique culture and ecosystems of the Lower Omo Valley and Lake Turkana, both recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites,” the groups said in a statement.

They argued further that the construction of the dam violates Ethiopia’s constitution, international conventions, the environmental safeguard policies of international financial institutions and the strategic priorities of the independent World Commission on Dams.

The NGOs also say, the people to be affected by the construction of the dam know very little about it.

Construction of the dam began in 2006, but the Ethiopian government needs more than $1.4 billion to finish it, is said. In spite of serious impacts and violations, the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, the Italian and the Kenyan governments are currently considering funding the project, it added.

“Gibe 3 is the most destructive dam under construction in Africa. The project will condemn half a million of the region’s most vulnerable people to hunger and conflict,” Terri Hathaway, director of International Rivers’ Africa Program, was quoted as saying.

Caterina Amicucci, of the Italian group CRBM and a member of Counter Balance was quoted as saying., “This dam is a man-made disaster and violates national and international legislation. This should not be financed with development aid. International Financial Institutions and development agencies must withdraw immediately from the operation.”

The NGOs resisting the construction include, CRBM, Friends of the Lake Turkana and the Counter Balance.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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  1. The propaganda that being waged by survival international against Ethiopia building a dam is unreasonable, and wrong, criminal, has no common sense. Although the survival international did some great job around the globe, but this camping they are waging is out of touch, and they are trying to stop a small economical progress to keep Ethiopia back in Stone Age, and due to that as it has seen often many Ethiopian will suffer by starvation. It is not a luxury for Ethiopian’s to have a basic amount of electrical power; it is a fundamental necessity to a poor country that suffered a lot. Ethiopia need electric power to grow its industries and provide 80 millions of it population with the power they need, The population of Ethiopia is growing so that the need for electrical power, It is Ethiopia’s right to do what is important to the general public, Ethiopia would not be allowed to have nuclear power plant and would not be able to afford its cost of running it, thermal power is known to pollute the environment, and Hydro power is the best environmentally friendly solution to the energy crises Ethiopia faces, There fore Ethiopia should build its dam, settle the 500 000 people who live there to good other part of the region, why not if it benefit the greater majority. Ethiopia has no natural resources, industrializing the country is the way out of decades of poverty, The world environment is messed up because the rich countries are still polluting it, the global warming problem is still being ignored by many rich countries, for those who are against Ethiopia building the dam, so go and tell your leaders to stop polluting the world. go away you hypocrites, let Ethiopia have electricity. Stop your propaganda against a poor nation, stop suppressing the development, Ethiopia knows it is good for its people, we need the electricity, and we are tired of not having enough electrical power. Our poor country needs to find ways to be economically self sufficient, we can not depend on rich countries to feed us forever, electrical energy is quite vital to industrialize a poor country and to provide ordinary people a better life.