Must Watch

abel’s last trip to omo valley

The future of these tribes, however, is in jeopardy. Gibe III, a major hydroelectric dam on the Omo River, is now being built to support vast commercial plantations that are displacing the tribes. This will devastate the fragile environment as well as the tribes’ livelihoods, which are inextricably linked to the river and its annual flood. Both the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank indicated in 2010 that they were no longer considering supporting Gibe III after conducting early appraisal studies. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China’s largest bank, agreed to fund a portion of the dam’s construction, while the World Bank is funding electricity transmission lines from the dam. The life-giving fluids are diverted to the plants by hundreds of kilometers of irrigation channels. The government began leasing large tracts of rich land in the Lower Omo region to Malaysian, Italian, Indian, and Korean corporations in 2011 to cultivate biofuels and cash crops like oil palm, jatropha, cotton, and maize. It has begun evicting Bodi, Kwegu, and Mursi people from their land and relocating them to resettlement zones in order to make way for the enormous state-run Kuraz Sugar Project, which currently covers 150,000 hectares but might expand to 245,000 hectares in the future. Suri people living west of the Omo are also being forced to relocate in order to make place for enormous commercial plantations.
The Gibe III Dam and the plantations, according to Survival and other regional and international organizations, as well as hydrologists and other researchers, will have catastrophic consequences for the Omo River tribes, who already live on the edge of survival in this dry and challenging area, with grain stores, beehives, and valuable cattle grazing land destroyed. Those who fight the theft of their land have been beaten and imprisoned on a regular basis. There have been numerous stories of tribal people being raped or killed by military personnel patrolling the area to protect construction and plantation workers. The Bodi, Mursi, and Suri have been told that they must give up their cattle herds, which are an important part of their livelihood, and that they may only keep a few cows in the resettlements, where they will be reliant on government aid to survive. In most relocation camps, services and food aid are either non-existent or of poor quality.

Related Articles

Back to top button