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International Brigade against the dictator 74th anniversary (March1936 – March 2010). Least we forget we are more lenient today to dictators like Melese Zenawie…

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Franco &  Hitler supported Mussolini’s  Genocide in Abyssinia

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In August 1936 Harry Pollitt arranged forTom Wintringham to go to Spain to represent the CPGB during the Civil War. While in Barcelona he developed the idea of a volunteer international legion to fight on the side of theRepublican Army. He wrote: “You have to treat the building of an army as a political problem, a question of propaganda, of ideas soaking in.”

On 10th September 1936 Wintringham wrote to Harry Pollitt that he had arranged for Nat Cohen, a Jewish clothing worker from Stepney, to establish “a Tom Mann centuria which will include 10 or 12 English and can accommodate as many likely lads as you can send out… I believe that full political value can only be got from it (and that’s a lot) if its English contingent becomes stronger. 50 is not too many.”

Maurice Thorez, theFrench Communist Party leader, also had the idea of an international force of volunteers to fight for the Republic. Joseph Stalinagreed and in September 1936 theComintern began organising the formation of International Brigades. An internatinal recruiting centre was set up in Paris and a training base at Albacete in Spain.

Battalions estblished included the Abraham Lincoln BattalionBritish BattalionConnolly ColumnDajakovich BattalionDimitrov BattalionMackenzie-Papineau BattalionGeorge Washington BattalionMickiewicz Battalion and Thaelmann Battalion.

A total of 59,380 volunteers from fifty-five countries served during the Spanish Civil War. This included the following: French (10,000), German (5,000), Polish (5,000), Italian (3,350), American (2,800), British (2,000), Canadian (1,000), Yugoslavian (1,500), Czech (1,500), Canadian (1,000), Hungarian (1,000) and Scandinavian (1,000). These men were organized into the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of the Mixed Brigades.

Men who fought with the Republican Army included George Orwell, André Marty, Christopher Caudwell, Jack Jones, Len Crome, Oliver Law, Tom Winteringham, Joe Garber, Lou Kenton, Bill Alexander, David Marshall, Alfred Sherman, William Aalto, Hans Amlie, Bill Bailey, Robert Merriman, Fred Copeman, Tom Murray, Steve Nelson, Walter Grant, Alvah Bessie, Joe Dallet, David Doran, John Gates, Harry Haywood, Oliver Law, Edwin Rolfe, Milton Wolff, Hans Beimler, Frank Ryan, Emilo Kléber, Ludwig Renn, Gustav Regler, Ralph Fox, Sam Wild and John Cornford.

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Women were active supporters of the International Brigades. A large number of women volunteered to serve in Medical Units in Spain during the war. This included Annie Murray, Thora Silverthorne, Salaria Kea, Mildred Rackley, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Mary Valentine Ackland, Lillian Urmston and Penny Phelps.

Volunteers came from a variety of left-wing groups but the brigades were always led by Communists. This created problems with other Republican groups such as the Workers Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) and the Anarchists.

The International Brigades played an important role in the defence of Madrid in November 1936. They also suffered heavy losses at Jarama (February 1937), Brunete (July, 1937), Teruel (December 1937) and Ebro (July-August 1938).

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Spanish Civil War.

Introduction:

1936 to 1939: A military rising originating in Morocco, headed by General Francisco Franco, spreads rapidly all over the country, thus starting the Spanish Civil War.

After a number of bloody battles in which fortunes changed from one side to the other, the ‘nacionales’ finally prevailed and made a victorious entry into Madrid (March 28th, 1939).

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Significant Events:

1936: The tragic death of Calvo Sotelo had the effect of accelerating a military coup that had been under preparation for a long time. Actually, the conspirators had been awaiting General Franco’s decision to begin the uprising. On July 18th it spread to other garrisons in metropolitan Spain and the following day Franco took command of the army in Morocco. The rising was succesful in Seville (directed by General Queipo de Llano), the Balearic Islands (General Goded), the Canary Islands and Morocco (Franco), Navarra (Mola), Burgos and Saragossa. General Yague advanced through Extremadura and Mola took Irun. By the end of 1936 the Nationalist troops controlled the greater part of Andalucia, Extremadura, Toledo, Avila, Segovia, Valladolid, Burgos, Leon, Galicia, a part of Asturias, Vitoria, San Sebastian, Navarra and Aragon, as well as the Canary and Balearic Islands with the exception of Menorca. Castilla la Nueva, Catalunya, Valencia, Murcia, Almeria, Gijon and Bilbao remained in Republican hands.

The Republican government formed a coalition Cabinet headed by Giralt which was succeeded by another one under Largo Caballero. It brought the CNT (Confederacion Nacional de Trabajo, the anarcho-syndicalist union) into the Cabinet and moved to Valencia. On September 29, the Junta de Defensa Nacional named Franco head of the government and commander of the armed forces. To offset these circumstances, the Republican government created a Popular army and militarized the militia. Both sides were soon receiving aid from abroad: the International Brigades were supporting Republican Spain and Italian and German troops, Nationalist Spain.

Jarama, Brunete, Quinto, Belchite, Fuentes de Ebro, Teruel, The Retreats and The Ebro are the battlegrounds of the Spanish Civil War in which over twelve hundred Canadian soldiers supporting Republican Spain took part. These men created the most unique military unit in the history of Canada: the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion of the XVth International Brigade of the Spanish Republican Army: ‘the Mac-Paps.’

1937: The year 1937 was characterized by fighting in the north of the country: Guernica was bombed in April, Bilbao taken in June, Santander in August, and Gijon in October. The reaction of the Republicans was to open fronts in Guadalajara (March),Brunete (July), and Belchite (August). The Battle of Teruel was launched at the end of the year.

1938: The Nationalist transferred their efforts to Aragon, recovered Teruel and divided the Republican zone in two parts after entering Castellon in July 1938. The government replied with the so-called Battle of the Ebro (July-November 1938) which ended with a Republican defeat and 70,000 casualties.

1939: Once government resistance was exhausted, the Republican exile began with many Spaniards fleeing accross the border into France. Catalunya fell on February 10, 1939. Madrid was the only city still resisting, and the proposals of peace made by its Junta de Defensa (headed by Casado and Besteiro) were useless. Nationalist forces occupied the capital on March 28, 1939, and on April 1, General Franco officially ended the war.

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Time Line

1936 February Popular Front won national elections and Azana was appointed president of Spain. March The right wing Falange Party was banned. March to May Street riots; strikes and general anarchy in some parts of Spain. July Military uprisings in Spanish Morocco and some parts of mainland Spain. The government dissolves the regular army. July 19th, Franco arrives to take command of the army in Morocco.

Hitler agreed to help out the Nationalists. Stalin agreed to help the Republicans. German and Italian planes airlift Franco’s army to the Spanish mainland. August First International Brigade volunteers arrived in Spain. September A military junta named Franco as head of state and c-in-c of the armed forces of Spain. October The first aid from Russia arrives for the Republicans November Germany and Italy recognise Franco as head of Spain’s government. 1937 February Nationalists started a major offensive against Madrid. International Brigade played an important part in resisting this offensive. March Battle of Guadalajara. Italian “volunteers” defeated. This led to Franco abandoning any attempt to take Madrid. April Guernica destroyed by aerial bombing. May Republican groups in Barcelona fell out causing serious weaknesses in the city. June The strategic city of Bilboa fell to the Nationalists. August The Vatican recognised Franco’s regime. 1938 April Republican Spain was split in two by the Nationalists. May Franco declared that the Republicans had to unconditionally surrender. July Start of the collapse of the Republican army after the Battle of the Ebro. October International Brigade left Spain. 1939 January Barcelona fell to Franco February Britain and France recognised the legitimacy of Franco’s government. March Madrid surrendered to Franco April Republicans surrendered unconditionally to Franco.

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Genocide in preparation in Ethiopian Tactonic Dams for over 1/2 Million Omotic Ethiopians & Kenyans are endangered

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The  Ethiopian Rift valley  extending from the Afar Vally down to the Omo river  passing to the Lake Turkna ( Rudelf)  up unto lake Victoria. This is a tectonic  plate separation point breaking the Horn of Africa from the rest of the continent. One  cannot build a Dams  (Gebe I Gebe II Gebe III) connecting these  breaking  plates. Recently the Gebe II dam’s tunnel of 26 kilometer collapsed from this movement. The government of Ethiopia is continuing its project and throwing money in these futile project and destroying the lives of over half a million Ethiopians & Kenyans down the river . The dam could collapse any time with these unexpected movement endangering over half a million lives .

Ethiopia map of dam surroundings at present

Dramatic Geologic Activity in East Africa

A New Ocean Will Eventually Form as Tectonic Plates Split Apart

Feb 26, 2010 Terrie Schultz

The splitting apart of the African Plate in the East African Rift Valley shows how continents change and oceans are created through the process of plate tectonics.

The huge, brittle tectonic plates that make up Earth’s crust normally move only a few centimeters per year, not fast enough to be noticeable in a human lifetime. However, in the East African Rift Valley, this tectonic motion is happening with remarkable speed.

The East African Rift System

The East African Rift System is the most extensive continental rift zone on Earth, as well as one of the most active geologic regions. Stretching more than 6,000 km (3,700 miles), it begins in Lebanon and Syria to the north, proceeds along the Red Sea where it marks the boundary between the African and Arabian Plates, and continues through to Mozambique in the south.

The area of east Africa is defined by extremes. Volcanic activity along the Great Rift Valley has produced some of the world’s highest mountains, including Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, while the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is one of the lowest points on the planet.

The Afar Triangle, which includes north-eastern Ethiopia, Djibouti and the southern Red Sea region of Eritrea, is the location of a tectonic triple junction where three tectonic plates meet. These three plates are moving away from each other due to an upwelling of magma from the mantle, which melts the crust and causes it to thin and pull apart. The phenomenon is similar to that which occurs at the mid-ocean ridges, where hot magma rises up and pushes the oceanic crust out to each side in the process of seafloor spreading, but it is rarely observed on Earth’s surface.

The African Plate is Tearing Apart, Forming a New Plate and Ocean Basin

Recent tectonic activity in the East African Rift Valley has created vast fissures where the African Plate is being split into two parts. The Nubian Plate that comprises most of the African continent, and the Somalian Plate, on the eastern coast, are moving in opposite directions at what is known as a divergent plate boundary. As the plates pull apart, a new ocean will eventually form, and the Horn of Africa will separate from the rest of the continent, becoming an island.

Lake Turkana

The dam may affect the people who live around Lake Turkana



Web campaign against Ethiopia Gibe III dam

BBC

age last updated at 14:48 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

A group of international campaigners has launched an online petition against Ethiopia’s huge Gibe III dam project.

The group wants to put pressure on Western donors and banks not to fund the dam, saying it would destroy the livelihoods of some 500,000 people.

The dam is on the Omo River, which flows from southern Ethiopia into Lake Turkana in northern Kenya.

Ethiopia’s government says the dam is needed to generate enough electricity for its population and to sell abroad.

Construction work is under way on the dam, which would be Africa’s second largest hydro-electric dam, providing some 1,800 megawatts of electricity.

‘Very sensible’

But one of the groups, International Rivers, says the government still needs about $1.4bn (£930m) to finish it.

“Gibe III 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,” said Terri Hathaway, director of International Rivers’ Africa programme.

The dam would flood a huge area, creating a 150km-long lake and preventing people from planting their crops on the river’s flood plains, as they have done for many generations.

Campaigners also fear that the dam would reduce the flow of water into Lake Turkana, which some 300,000 people depend on.

However, Ethiopia’s government disputes that the overall amount of water would change – they say it would just be a more regular flow throughout the year.

Tewolde Gebre Egziabher, head of Ethiopia’s Environmental Protection Authority, told the BBC the project was “very sensible”.

“The advantages for the whole country, the local communities around, even for our neighbouring countries – including Kenya -so much more outweigh the small problems that will be caused on an immediate basis but are not long-lasting.”

FLOODING EFFECT OF DAM ON OMO RIVER

Choose a view:


Using newly gathered seismic data from 2005, researchers reconstructed the event to show the rift tore open along its entire 35-mile length in just days. Dabbahu, a volcano at the northern end of the rift, erupted first, then magma pushed up through the middle of the rift area and began “unzipping” the rift in both directions, the researchers explained in a statement today.

“We know that seafloor ridges are created by a similar intrusion of magma into a rift, but we never knew that a huge length of the ridge could break open at once like this,” said Cindy Ebinger, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochesterand co-author of the study.

@@@@Fissures have opened in the Earth's surface in Afar as the Arabian and Nubian tectonic plates pull apart. Scientists say the process is the same as that which created the Atlantic. Photograph: Xan Rice

The Horn of Africa is Becoming an Ocean

A new ocean is appearing between the Arabian and the African plate. This ocean is appearing faster than previously geological thought. A series of more than one-hundred sixty two earthquakes in
two weeks were the
For the first time – humans were able to witness the birth of an ocean. Geologist Dereje Ayalew and his colleagues from Addis Ababa were the first to witness this up-to-the-minute experience. With a shake of the earth as soon as they arrived they were tempted to run back to the helicopter that had brought them there but in moments they were able to witness this horrific yet fascinating event. After a few moments, a dense crack in the earth appeared – an event that usually takes a lifetime to occur. This would be an amazing experience to view in a lifetime, it has been recently added to my “things to see in my lifetime” list.
“In north-eastern Africa’s Afar Triangle, though, recent months have seen hundreds of crevices splitting the desert floor and the ground has slumped by as much as 100 meters (328 feet). At the same time, scientists have observed magma rising from deep below as it begins to form what will eventually become a basalt ocean floor.”
“The process happening here is identical to that which created the Atlantic Ocean,” Parts of the region have sunk to nearly one-hundred meters below sea level.
The red sea will soon flood this crevice, and the scientists are able to unearth what is to be the floor of the newly forming ocean. The African and the Arabian plates meet at the Afar triangle and are considered to be the largest natural construction site on the planet. The event witnessed was the first visual proof of the formation. Now, this would have been something to witness.
Locals visit the site regularly and notice new cracks forming constantly. Also, fumes as hot as 400 degrees arising from the area accompanied by magma and sulfur. This is evident in the recent volcanic activity within the area. It won’t be a very long time until this area is flooded by the current red sea and becomes the youngest ocean.
Schematic map of Africa's most active volcanoes

Giant dam to devastate 200,000 tribal people in Ethiopia 23 March


A massive hydroelectric dam project on Ethiopia’s Omo River will devastate at least 200,000 tribal people, Survival said today.

Survival is launching an urgent campaign calling on the Ethiopian government to halt the dam (known as Gibe III), and urging potential international funders, including the Africa Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank and the Italian government not to support the project.

Italian company Salini Costruttori, has been contracted to build the dam. The same company built the smaller Gibe II dam, part of which collapsed 10 days after it was opened in January.

The dam will end the Omo’s natural flood, which deposits fertile silt on the river banks, where the tribes cultivate crops when the waters recede. In a region where drought is commonplace, this will have devastating consequences for the tribes’ food supplies.

The tiny hunter-gatherer Kwegu tribe, for example, will be pushed to the brink as fish stocks will be reduced. Six Kwegu, including two children, recently died of hunger because the rains and flood failed.

The Ethiopian government plans to lease huge tracts of tribal land in the Omo Valley to foreign companies and governments for large-scale production of crops, including biofuels, which will be fed by water from the dam.

Most of the tribal people who will be affected by the dam know nothing about the project. The Ethiopian government is clamping down on tribal organizations, and last year closed down 41 local ‘community associations’, making it impossible for communities to hold meetings about the dam.

The Omo River is the primary source of Kenya’s famous Lake Turkana, which supports the lives of 300,000 people who pasture their cattle on its banks and fish there. The dam will threaten their survival too. Both the Lower Omo Valley and Lake Turkana are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Survival’s director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘The Gibe III dam will be a disaster of cataclysmic proportions for the tribes of the Omo valley. Their land and livelihoods will be destroyed, yet few have any idea what lies ahead. The government has violated Ethiopia’s constitution and international law in the procurement process. No respectable outside body should be funding this atrocious project.’

Survival together with the the Campaign for the Reform of the World Bank, Counter Balance coalition, Friends of Lake Turkana and International Rivers have launched a petition to stop the dam.

Sign the Petition

Some facts on Gibe 3 dam:

1. The dam wall will be 240 metres high – the tallest dam in Africa

2. The lake formed by the reservoir will be 150 kms long

3. Estimated Cost: 1.4 billion Euros (US $1.7 billion at start of dam construction)

4. Construction started in 2006 and is due to be completed in 2012

5. The dam will provide 1,800 megawatts of electricity

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The Lower Omo River in south west Ethiopia is home to eight different tribes whose population is about 200,000. They have lived there for centuries.

However the future of these tribes lies in the balance. A massive hydro-electric dam, Gibe III, is under construction on the Omo. When completed it will destroy a fragile environment and the livelihoods of the tribes, which are closely linked to the river and its annual flood.

Hamar girls display their ornate hair and adornments.
Hamar girls display their ornate hair and adornments.
© Eric Lafforgue/Survival

Salini Costruttori, an Italian company, started construction work on the Gibe III dam at the end of 2006, and has already built a third of it.

Soon, both the African Development Bank and the Italian government will decide whether to fund the dam project as requested by the Ethiopian government.

Survival and various regional and international organisations believe that the Gibe III Dam will have catastrophic consequences for the tribes of the Omo River, who already live close to the margins of life in this dry and challenging area.

We are calling on the African Development Bank and other potential funders not to support this project until a complete and independent social and environmental impact study is carried out and the tribal peop

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httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hpLlt0agt8

‘Open the dam and let the water flow’ – desperate plea from Omo Valley 25 February

A Kwegu boy outside his hut. The Omo Valley tribes are finding it hard to feed their children in these times of drought.
A Kwegu boy outside his hut. The Omo Valley tribes are finding it hard to feed their children in these times of drought. ©Survival

Many tribal people in the Lower Omo Valley in Ethiopia are starving as the region is in the grip of a drought and the river’s annual flood has failed.

The Kwegu, a small hunter-gatherer tribe, have been badly hit. Survival has received reports that two Kwegu children and four adults died from hunger in November.

A Kwegu man sent this message: ‘Go and give this news to your elders, we Kwegu people are hungry. Other tribes have cattle, they can drink milk and blood. We don’t have cattle; we eat from the Omo River. We depend on the fish, they are like our cattle. If the Omo floods are gone we will die.’

The rains have not fallen properly for three years in the Omo Valley, home to eight different tribes and around 200,000 people. The annual flood of the Omo River, a lifeline for the region, has decreased in recent years, and in 2009 it failed completely.

A Mun tribesman said, ‘Before the flood waters would come and we would have big cultivation sites. Now, all the cultivation sites … have got no water.’

It is not clear why the rains have stopped, or why the flood failed. What is clear, is that the Gibe cascade – a series of five dams planned for the Omo River – is likely to stretch an already strained region, and its people, to breaking point.

Some Kwegu blame the dam. One said, ‘Our land has become bad. They closed the water off tight and we know hunger. Open the dam and let the water flow.’

Gibe I is already complete, damming one of the tributaries of the Omo River. The Gibe II dam blocks the same river, and recently was a major source of embarrassment for the Ethiopian government and Italian firm Salini Construttori, after part of it collapsed just ten days after opening.

The Gibe III dam is about one third complete. A 50 meter cofferdam was recently built as part of the ongoing dam construction. Some believe it may have contributed to the lack of the annual flood.

If completed, Gibe III will be the second largest hydroelectric dam in Africa.

Experts warn it will irrevocably devastate the Omo River’s flood cycle, which is crucial to the Omo Valley tribes’ livelihood and survival.

The Ethiopian government claims Gibe III, aside from generating enough electricity to power the country several times over, will increase the safety of the downstream tribes by stopping giant floods from sweeping away livestock and people. But the tribes are clear – without the annual flood, they cannot survive.

A Mun tribesman said, ‘Now that the floods are gone we have a big problem. We are afraid of death. The rainy season hasn’t come for three years. Why haven’t the rains been working all this time? Did the sky not sign his work papers? Did he forget to work?’

‘There is no singing and dancing all along the Omo River now. The people are too hungry. The kids are quiet.’

‘The big rains have been gone for three years and now, we come to the Omo and there is no water.’

Ethiopia's dam project could kill Kenya's Lake Turkana

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Uncontacted tribes threatened by ‘thousands of explosions’ 22 March

A Nahua man shortly after first contact in 1984. More than 50% of the Nahua died following contact.
A Nahua man shortly after first contact in 1984. More than 50% of the Nahua died following contact.
© Survival

A pioneer scientific study has revealed how some of the world’s last uncontacted tribes are threatened by ‘the detonation of thousands of seismic explosives’ on their land.

The study says that seventeen large areas in the Peruvian Amazon where oil and gas companies can work include land inhabited by uncontacted Indians.

The potential impacts on the tribes and their land are ‘severe and extensive’, says the study. These impacts include: ‘hundreds of heliports’, ‘the cutting of hundreds of kilometres of seismic lines’, ‘the detonation of thousands of seismic explosives’, oil spills and leaks, new roads, and the ‘unique potential of advancing the agricultural, cattle and logging frontiers’, all of which could be disastrous for the tribes ‘whose lack of resistance or immunity make them extremely vulnerable to illnesses brought by outsiders.’

‘More of the Peruvian Amazon has been leased to oil and gas companies over the past four years than at any other time on record,’ says the study, published in ‘Environmental Research Letters’.

The study cites drilling in northern Peru by a British company as ‘extremely controversial’, although it does not mention the company, Perenco, by name. Perenco, which has recently revealed plans to build a pipeline into the region, is working ‘within a mega-diverse and largely intact section of the Amazon (where) there is strong anthropological evidence (of) uncontacted indigenous peoples.’

The study says that a massive 72% of the entire Peruvian Amazon is now open for exploration and drilling. Survival is campaigning against exploration in parts of the Peruvian Amazon inhabited by uncontacted tribes.

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EUROPE:

Aid for Ethiopian Dam Challenged
David Cronin

BRUSSELS, Jan 26 (IPS) – Financial support has been requested from the European Union for a controversial energy project in Ethiopia that could drive thousands of farmers from their land.

With a projected cost of 1.7 billion dollars, the Gilgel Gibe 3 dam is the single largest infrastructural work being undertaken in Ethiopia. At a launch ceremony Jan. 24, Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giorgis predicted that the hydroelectricity scheme will boost efforts to reduce poverty.

Yet his upbeat assessment is disputed by environmental and social policy activists.

They predict the dam will have adverse consequences for the ecology of the Gibe-Obo river system. Although 400 nomadic pastoralists are likely to lose access to grazing lands as a result of it, locals have not been formally consulted about its effects.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has confirmed that it has received a request to loan money to the dam.

In a letter, seen by IPS, senior bank official Yvonne Berghorst said that “in order to qualify for funding, the EIB’s normal thorough project appraisal procedure would need to demonstrate that the project meets the EIB’s requirements on environmental and social standards, is technically, economically and financially viable and complies with relevant practices and standards regarding procurement.”

Doubts have been cast on whether the project would comply with international tendering rules. Salini, an Italian construction firm, was awarded a contract for the project by the Addis Ababa government, without any competition.

An EIB spokesman said that because the contract had been granted in this way, the bank would “only be able to finance things that might be subcontracted” to other companies.

“We will be looking very carefully at the project’s affordability,” the spokesman added. “Does the project make sense for the Ethiopian economy? We will look at what positive effects it will have to make a balanced decision.”

Campaigners have declined to accept this reassurance.

Magda Stockczkiewicz from Friends of the Earth’s Brussels office pointed out that the EIB had previously financed earlier phases of the dam’s construction between 1998 and 2005, even though similar problems had been observed in the awarding of contracts. A loan of more than 44 million euros (65 million dollars) was allocated to phase two, for example.

“It is in keeping with the classic EIB approach that it is not going to provide finance to all of a monster but that it is happy to finance the birth of a monster,” said Stockczkiewicz.

Set up by the 1957 Treaty of Rome, the EIB is an official EU body, which approved loans totalling more than 53 billion euros (78 billion dollars) in 2006.

Although the bank raises its capital from international markets, its mandate requires that it adheres to the Union’s policies. Under the Cotonou Agreement, a treaty signed in 2000 that lays down the legal basis for the EU’s relationship with Africa, it is obliged to ensure that any work it supports in Africa helps reduce poverty.

Gilgel Gibe 3 is considered pivotal to an Ethiopian five-year plan to generate 4,000 megawatts of electricity. Almost half that energy is to come from the project.

But the question of whether the domestic population will benefit as a result is fiercely contested, given that much of its power could be exported to Kenya.

Caterina Amicucci from the Campaign for the Reform of the World Bank in Rome said that just 6 percent of Ethiopia’s 73 million inhabitants are connected to the national electricity grid. It would be preferable, she added, to invest in improving domestic capacity than to support schemes designed to export energy.

As alternatives to Gilgel Gibe 3, campaigners are advocating a major effort to increase the supply of cooking fuels to rural communities.

Ethiopia has also been identified as having vast potential for the generation of geothermal energy – from heat stored beneath the earth’s surface – particularly in the Rift Valley.

Despite being a critic of the World Bank, Amicucci argued that the Washington-based institution is “much more advanced” than the EIB. After sustained campaigning by a wide variety of organisations, the World Bank has become more transparent and has begun insisting that correct procedures are followed before it releases money.

“Because of the procurement issue (with Gilgel Gibe 3), the World Bank’s offices in Addis Ababa have told us they can’t support this project,” Amicucci added.

Another concern being raised is that Ethiopia could struggle to pay back a large-scale loan.

In a report on Ethiopia issued last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that the granting of commercial loans to public enterprises has a “sizeable effect” on debt sustainability.

The World Bank and IMF consider the external debt of a country as sustainable when it is around 150 percent of its yearly export revenues.

According to the latest data published by the World Bank, Ethiopia has an external debt of 6 billion dollars, equivalent to one-fifth of national income.

Some 40 percent of Ethiopians live below the poverty line.

“Loans have to be paid back,” said Stockczkiewicz. “Our belief is that in such a situation, the responsibility on the donor is even greater. If they don’t look through all the pros and cons of a project before giving a loan, at the end of the day it is the country’s people that will have to pay the price.”

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European bank withdraws funding from Ethiopia’s dam


afrol News, – The European Investment Bank has decided to pull back its funding for Ethiopia’s hydropower dam following pressure calls by environmentalists that the Gibe 3 Dam threatens the food security and local economies that support more than half a million people in Southwest Ethiopia.

According to the banks statement, the Euro 1.55 billion hydropower dam would devastate the ecosystems of Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley and Kenya’s Lake Turkana.

The dam which is expected to be Africa’s tallest dam with the height of 240 meters and Ethiopia’s biggest investment, drew criticisms from environmentalists saying the construction will wreak havoc on the Omo River’s natural flood cycle.

The Bank’s statement further said in March 2009, Friends of Lake Turkana, a group of affected people in Kenya, urged the EIB not to fund the Gibe 3 because the affected communities could not withstand any more pressure on the little resources along the lake.

The coordinator of Friends of Lake Turkana, Ikal Angelei, said Gibe 3 Dam would lead to the ecological and economic collapse around Lake Turkana, adding that it would also fuel tension in the volatile east African region.

The African Development Bank will be the next financier to consider funding for the project. Friends of Lake Turkana and International Rivers Network submitted complaints to the AfDB in March and April.

International Rivers’ Africa director Terri Hathaway said the Gibe 3 Dam violates the AfDB’s policies on environmental and social assessment, poverty reduction, resettlement, public disclosure, and trans-boundary water management.

“Donors should not fund through the AfDB what they are not prepared to fund through the EIB,” the official said.

The Gibe 3 Dam which resumed construction in 2006 was awarded without competition to an Italian construction giant Salini, raising serious questions about the project’s integrity. The project’s impact assessment reports were also published long after construction began and are said to disregard the project’s most serious consequences.

The European Investment Bank financed the Gibe and Gibe 2 dams, conducted a pre-assessment of the Gibe 3 Dam, and contribued funds to the project’s Economic, Financial and Technical Assessment.

The environmentalists have argued that the construction of Gibe 3 dam would leave the Lake Turkana and its inhabitants devastated as the lake could start drying up when its main source, the Omo River, is depleted by a huge dam in Ethiopia.

“There is no question that Ethiopia needs power. But the irony of the Gibe III dam is that while it threatens the economy of the Turkana region, a large share of its electricity will be sold to consumers in other parts of Kenya,” the environmentalists has said.

Although Kenya and Ethiopia have reportedly signed the power purchase agreement outlining the terms of electricity sales in 2006, no bilateral agreements on the use of the Omo-Turkana waterway and the dam’s downstream effects to Kenya are publicly known.

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Kenyan indigenous groups file complaint with AfDB on Ethiopian dam

2 March 2009

Requestors argue that the Gibe III Dam is set to deplete Lake Turkana with dramatic impacts on downstream communities in Kenya, and in the absence of public consultation.

On February 4, Friends of Lake Turkana, a Kenyan organization representing indigenous groups in northwestern Kenya whose livelihoods are linked to Lake Turkana, filed a formal request with the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Compliance Review & Mediation Unit (CRMU) – the AfDB’s internal accountability mechanism – to investigate and intervene in the Bank’s plans to finance the Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric project in Ethiopia.

Gilgel Gibe III (known as “Gibe”) is part of a continuing series of projects on the Omo River and its tributaries in southwestern Ethiopia. Construction on the third portion of the project began in 2006, but the request for funding to the AfDB was only made recently. The project has become problematic for public funders because the Ethiopian government did not follow standard procedures in awarding the main contract to an Italian firm, Salini, without any bidding procedure. The World Bank has declined to offer financing because of this flaw, as has the Italian government. The European Investment Bank also seems to be leaning against any funding, on the same grounds. The AfDB’s procurement guidelines likewise prohibit it from funding the main contract, but the loan currently under consideration uses a loophole – financing through a sub-contract – to evade the rules.

With so many potential public funders turning away from the project, and with private financiers like J.P. Morgan Chase withdrawing support because of the financial crisis, the AfDB’s contribution becomes more important – even vital – if the project is to be completed.

Unfortunately, judgments about whether procurement rules have been violated do not fall within the CRMU’s mandate. The request filed by FoLT instead focuses on the impact of the project on Lake Turkana. The Omo River supplies roughly 80 percent of the water in the lake, which is the world’s largest permanent desert lake. The contemplated impact of the dam could reduce the lake’s depth, it is estimated, by between 7 and 10 meters. Such an impact would have serious repercussions on the chemical balance of the lake, which is highly alkaline, and therefore on the biodiversity supported by the lake. Lake Turkana hosts the world’s largest group of Nile crocodiles – over 20,000 – as well as many other species of fish, bird, hippopotamus, etc.

A serious impact on the lake would also have a serious impact on the riverine forest and the lands around the lake used for flood-recession agriculture. Most of the peoples living in the area are pastoralists who supplement their diet with seasonal cultivation; a damaged lake would seriously compromise their food security and way of life.

The Ethiopian government approved its Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) on the project in July 2008, nearly two years after construction began, in a blatant violation of Ethiopian law. The ESIA barely acknowledges any impact on Lake Turkana, and provides unrealistically rosy scenarios to claim that the project will actually improve conditions at the lake, such as by “reducing evaporation” – indeed, if there is less water, there is less evaporation. Little effort has been made to consult with affected peoples, and no effort whatsoever has been made on the Kenyan side of the border.

Northwestern Kenya is one of the most arid and resource-deprived parts of Kenya, and conflict among its various people has been chronic. The impact of the Gibe Dam on Lake Turkana would very likely lead to increased violent conflict.

Although Ethiopia is chronically short of power, most of the power produced by this project would, ironically, be sold to Kenya. That power would be very unlikely, however, to benefit the peoples of northwestern Kenya, but instead go to the metropolitan areas such as Nairobi, further south. The arrangements between the Kenyan and Ethiopian governments have not been transparent, and there is now jostling in Parliament and the Kenyan coalition government to ascertain what has been agreed to and whether the interests of the people around Lake Turkana have been taken into account.

Friends of Lake Turkana is careful to acknowledge that while they are fighting for the interests of the people on the Kenyan side of the border, there are hundreds of thousands in Ethiopia who stand to suffer even more disruptive impacts. The Omo River Valley is populated by a very diverse assortment of indigenous groups, also prone to conflict over scarce resources. Consultations with them have been minimal. But the Ethiopian government’s record of repression, and new laws it has recently passed to further limit the activities of civil society groups, have effectively discouraged groups in Ethiopia from organizing explicit opposition. Nonetheless, expatriate Ethiopian groups, together with NGOs with an interest in the region, plan to file a request to supplement FoLT’s in the coming weeks that will outline in more detail the potential problems in Ethiopia.

The AfDB board was originally scheduled to discuss the project on February 25, but that date was delayed shortly after FoLT’s request was filed. There is now no indication when the project will be formally considered, but efforts are being made within the Bank, both through the CRMU and through other contacts, to slow down the process and make sure that adequate consultations and studies are done before any decision is made.

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httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oBAbD8bhoM

Kenya, Ethiopia cautioned on power project RESOURCES by the UN  (20/03/2010

BY SARAH WAMBUI

Buganda Revolution in Uganda



His Majesty Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II 36th King of Buganda

In Ethiopia the Historical  over  thousand of  years Zege Church burned recently  by the regime No body moved a finger. The Great Buganda people has just declared revolution while the Ethiopians are sleeping . The Ethiopians must learn from Uganda and defend their cultural identity.  Imagine a Mosque is just touched what will happen? Where is the justice…? Where are the defender of international cultural Identity ? Where are the  so called Christan world ?  Specially The orthodox World  Russia ,  Greek 8 Eastern Churhes   etc… Where are our brothers the  Muslims defender of a true faith no word in their site about this great church ? Where is our ecumenism.  Where is UNESCO in Ethiopia ?

The Buganda kings like  Toree’s  kings claim their descendants from Ethiopian Kings they gave the name to the country what is called today  the post colonial Uganda. Uganda is off time konwn as the  Perle of Africa.

Buganda is a kingdom located on Lake Victoria; Over time it expanded by means of conquest; in the 19th century it covered a large part of what is Uganda today, including the site which was to become Uganda’s capital, Kampala. It has an old relation with the Abyssinian kingdom. it was interpreted by the Scramble of Africa  and the coming of the European powers in the region.

In the 19th century, Buganda was visited by western travelers : J.H. SPEKE (1862), HENRY MORTON STANLEY (1876). Their reports picture a state of considerable size and authority, the capital at LUBAGA HILL a town of 40,000, the armed forces consisting of 125,000 troops and a ‘navy’ of 230 war canoes.
Anglican missionaries arrived in 1877; Catholic missionaries in 1879; soon, protestant (Anglican), catholic and islamic groups intrigued against each other at Buganda’s court. Clashes between rival factions resulted in massacres; as political leaders frequently changed, so did the victimized communities; in 1885, Kabaka Mwanga ordered the execution of 1 Anglican missionary and of 30 Catholic converts..

Brief Description

The Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi constitute a site embracing almost 30 ha of hillside within Kampala district. Most of the site is agricultural, farmed by traditional methods. At its core on the hilltop is the former palace of the Kabakas of Buganda, built in 1882 and converted into the royal burial ground in 1884. Four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, the main building, which is circular and surmounted by a dome. It is a major example of an architectural achievement in organic materials, principally wood, thatch, reed, wattle and daub. The site’s main significance lies, however, in its intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity.

The Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi constitute a site embracing almost 30 ha of hillside within Kampala district. Most of the site is agricultural, farmed by traditional methods. At its core on the hilltop is the former palace of the Kabakas of Buganda, built in 1882 and converted into the royal burial ground in 1884. Four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, the main building, which is circular and surmounted by a dome. It is a major example of an architectural achievement in organic materials, principally wood, thatch, reed, wattle and daub. The site’s main significance lies, however, in its intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity.


Njagala-Kasayi or Kasaba’s wife’s hut in the main courtyard | Sébastien Moriset © UNESCO
Date of Inscription: 2001
Criteria: (i)(iii)(iv)(vi)
Property : 26.8000 ha
Kampala District
N0 20 55 E32 33 5
Ref: 1022

Brief Description

Statement of Significance

Criterion i The Kasubi Tombs site is a masterpiece of human creativity both in its conception and its execution. Criterion iii The Kasubi Tombs site bears eloquent witness to the living cultural traditions of the Baganda. Criterion iv The spatial organization of the Kasubi Tombs site represents the best extant example of a Baganda palace/architectural ensemble. Built in the finest traditions of Ganda architecture and palace design, it reflects technical achievements developed over many centuries. Criterion vi The built and natural elements of the Kasubi Tombs site are charged with historical, traditional, and spiritual values. It is a major spiritual centre for the Baganda and is the most active religious place in the kingdom.

Thousands of people in Uganda belonging to the Baganda kingdom have held a riot at the tombs of their late kings, which caught fire last night.

The grass thatched building which contained the five tombs of late kings, all the kings to have ruled Buganda kingdom in the last 100 years, caught fire last night. According to a police officer at a police post near the tombs, Chris Sali, the tombs caught fire at 8.30 but there are different versions about the cause of fire.

“Some people say that they saw someone setting fire on the tombs. They say he fled in a vehicle. Others say that young men who smoke opium near the tombs were responsible for setting the fire on the tombs,” Sali said.

Meanwhile, some people in the Buganda kingdom have accused the Ugandan government of setting the fire on the tombs. The government has vehemently denied the allegations.

Thousands of angry people stormed the tombs after the fire and started mourning. They fought with the police who had been deployed to contain law and order. Four people have been admitted to hospital (Mulago) in Kampala after having sustained severe injuries.



President Museveni

The angry mob blocked Uganda’s president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni from visiting the tombs. The President later canceled his visit.

Although President Yoweri Museveni restored Ugandan Kingdoms in 1993 — albeit establishing them as non-political cultural institutions — after they were abolished in 1967 by President Obote, the Baganda believe that the President has tried to limit the influence of the Buganda Kabaka (King).

Last September, clashes erupted in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, following a planned visit by King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi of the Buganda kingdom to the central district of Kayunga. About 20 people were killed.

Kayunga, which is part of the Buganda kingdom, is believed to be inhabited by mostly non-Baganda. The riots were sparked when the minority community in the largely Buganda populated area opposed the King’s trip.

The Kayungas who opposed the visit of the King said they had seceded from the Buganda Kingdom, while insisting that the Kabaka’s visit was politically motivated. A detail that is prohibited by the 1993 deal that restored the kingdoms.

Constitutional powers

The Baganda have been advocating for constitutional powers for Kings through the restoration of a federal administration that would formally recognize the political power of their King.

Buganda is the largest and most politically powerful kingdom with about 20 per cent of the total Ugandan population and constituting the largest single ethnic group in the country.

The Kingdom is strategically located in the central region along the shores of Lake Victoria and houses the nation’s capital, Kampala.

The Baganda have an estimated population of about five million people.

During the colonial era, Buganda became the most influential kingdom in Uganda when the British rewarded it for its collaboration by giving it territories that belonged to the western kingdom of Bunyoro.

Many Baganda have, for several years, unsuccessfully lobbied the government to introduce a federal form of government that would give some autonomy to the regions.

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The Uganda Record

Wednesday, 17th March 2010

Who burnt the Kasubi Tombs?

The royal Buganda tombs at Kasubi on July 19, 2009.

The Buganda royal site, the Tombs at Kasubi, have been razed to the ground in a fire that swept through the premises shortly after 9:00p.m. on Tuesday night, March 16, 2010.

Witnesses at the scene at the time of the fire said it had started without warning or build up and appears to have been the work of an arsonist.

Hundreds of distressed and wailing Baganda gathered at the burning building and tried desperately to extinguish the fire but were reduced to tears and helplessly watching the grass-thatched complex go up in flames.

When the police arrived, it too failed to put out the fire and when the crowd got rowdy, gunshots and teargas were fired in the air, further angering the crowd.

WBS television and NTV aired segments of the inferno, while NBS television and Record TV run extensive video footage of the scenes of chaos, anger and the burning premises.

As gleaned from the TV footage, the anger of the crowd gathered at the tombs appeared to be directed at President Museveni, with many voices caught on camera angrily declaring that no matter what, one day he would perish in a fire too.

SMS text messages flying about in Kampala mentioned the fire and usually pointed the finger at Museveni.

The Katikiiro of Buganda, J.B. Walusimbi, Prince Kassim Nakibinge, and Buganda Information minister Medard S. Lubega were among the senior kingdom officials first at the scene.

The tombs, listed as one of hundreds of World Heritage Sites by the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO, were one of the most visited historic sites in Uganda.

Built just over 100 years ago, they are the traditional burial ground of Buganda’s kings, as well as the repository of some of the most valuable and irreplaceable cultural artifacts in Buganda.

Who set the royal tombs on fire?

The Daily Monitor newspaper, in its edition of Wednesday March 17, 2010, quoted eye witnesses as saying that a white pickup without number plates was at the scene.

A woman spoke of seeing a white box left at the tombs, then a loud explosion just before the historic site burst into flames.

When nearby motorcycle riders tried to block the pickup, now speeding off the scene, somebody inside or seated on the outside of the vehicle fired in the air to disperse the motorcycle riders.

“[T]he fleeing man shot in the air to scare away riders in his pursuit,” the Daily Monitor reported.

This, clearly, was an act of arson and sabotage. Whoever lit that fire knows what the Kasubi Tombs mean to Buganda. It is like setting fire to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Westminster Abbey in London, historic burial site of some of England’s most revered figures.

The purpose of burning Kasubi Tombs would have been two fold.

From the point of view of one trying to cause the Museveni government to lose any remaining support in Buganda, it would have been to trigger off riots or deep and boiling anger among the Baganda.

From the point of view of a state actor, to set the tombs on fire and destroy them would achieve the goal of creating conditions of such unrest and insecurity as to warrant the proclamation of a state of emergency in Buganda.

Whatever the truth, this was an act of supreme political sabotage, not mere arson. The only act that would exceed this would be to assassinate the Kabaka of Buganda or to burn down one of his palaces.

The fact of a loud explosion preceding the break out of a fire was the hallmark of the fires that struck Budo Junior School and several others schools in and outside Kampala in 2008 and the Park Yard Market near Nakivubo Stadium in 2009. Explosives were used.

What makes the Kasubi fire even more suspicious was the reported firing in the air by the getaway car. Had the tombs been set on fire by an ordinary arsonist, he would have made it his top priority to flee the scene as quietly and inconspicuously as possible. To fire gunshots in the air could only attract attention.

More importantly, to have the audacity to fire gunshots in the air suggests the confidence of an arsonist with some measure of state protection, or membership in the official state security and military apparatus.

In its reporting and discussion of the fire on Wednesday morning, NBS television kept receiving SMS text messages from viewers mentioning their belief that it was the government.

As the fire raged on Tuesday night, the Catholic Church-run radio station, Radio Maria, kept receiving phone calls by listeners accusing the government of being behind the fire and had to discontinue the discussion for fear of being accused of inciting the public.

It was noticeable, on Wednesday morning, that most FM radio stations in Kampala avoided discussing the fire during their breakfast shows, mindful of what live phone calls from listeners would say and knowing the risk they run in having their operating licenses withdrawn.

The caution taken by the radio stations not to discuss the fire in itself reflects the widespread anger among the public and their belief that this was a state-orchestrated attack on Buganda.

Watch Joseph Koney and His kids  Army

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30 years since the fall of the Amin regime
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Earth is changing Polarity is moving :- Eclipses, Earth-quack, Tsunami ends up in polarity change…2012

This solution was discovered by Albert Einstein and his colleague Nathan Rosen, who first published the result in 1935. However, in 1962 John A. Wheeler and Robert W. Fuller published a paper showing that this type of wormhole is unstable, and that it will pinch off instantly as soon as it forms, preventing even light from making it through.


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A pole shift refers to the Earth’s magnetic field reversing its polarity. If a magnetic reversal occurred today, compasses would point south rather than north.

In the past 15 million years scientists found pole shifts occurred four times every 1 million years. Though this averages out to once every 250,000 years, switches do not occur at regular intervals. During one period in the Cretaceous, polarity remained constant for as long as 30 million years, though this is believed to be an anomaly. The last pole shift took place 790,000 years ago; causing some scientists to believe we’re due, while others speculate a reversal is already underway.

Dynamic processes taking place deep inside the planet generate Earth’s magnetic field. A core of molten iron surrounds the inner core of solid iron, each rotating at different rates. Their interaction, and perhaps other geophysical processes not yet understood, creates what scientists call a “hydromagnetic dynamo.” This self-perpetuating electric field acts in some ways like a gigantic bar magnet. The Earth’s magnetic field extends into space for tens of thousands of miles from the planet’s poles. It not only protects the Earth from solar radiation but plays a fundamental role in overall climate, weather patterns, and migratory habits of animals. If the poles were to reverse instantly, destruction would be global, from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to melting of Arctic ice and vast flooding. However, evidence suggests pole shifts happen gradually taking anywhere from 1,000 — 28,000 years. The last four flip-flops took about 7,000 years each.

Evidence for pole shifts came unexpectedly in the 1950s while exploring seafloor spreading along the mid-Atlantic ridge. Here molten material wells up, cools and hardens, creating new sea crust, pushing the old crust outwards. Magnetic particles or iron oxides in the lava act like tiny compass needles, aligning themselves with the magnetic field, leaving a permanent record of the Earth’s polarity at the time the crust is created. By reading the orientation of the oxides at various distances out from the point of welling, scientists can “look back in time.” What they found was striping or alternating bands — periods of reversal throughout history.

Some researchers believe a pole shift is underway today because the magnetic field has decreased in intensity as much as 10% – 15% over the last 150 years, with the rate of decay increasing more significantly in recent years. If this trend continues, the magnetic field will be gone in 1000-2000 years. A weakening magnetic field is a precursor to pole shifts, though it’s acknowledged the current decay might also be attributable to other unknown causes, or might reverse itself. In the case of a pole shift, once the magnetic field weakens enough, the field directions undergo a near-180 degree switch before strengthening and stabilizing in the new orientation. However, scientists don’t really know how long this process takes. What is known is that it takes twice as long at the poles as at the equator. So while compasses at the mid-latitudes might point south after a 3,000-year transition, compasses at the poles would continue to point north for another 3,000 years.

The actual mechanisms behind a pole shift are still unknown. Some theories suggest comet impacts might play a role; others, that the magnetic field is inherently prone to flip-flops. Conclusive answers await a better understanding of the dynamics of this very fascinating geophysical phenomenon.

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Earth loses its magnetism
 

 

  

By Molly Bentley
in San Francisco
 
 
 
 

 

Scientists have known for some time that the Earth’s magnetic field is fading.

Earth magnet, BBC
The field is mainly dipolar – but there are anomalies

Like a Kryptonite-challenged Superman, its strength has steadily and mysteriously waned, leaving parts of the planet vulnerable to increased radiation from space.

Some satellites already feel the effects.

What is uncertain is whether the weakened field is on the way to a complete collapse and a reversal that would flip the North and South Poles.

Compasses pointing North would then point South.

It is not a matter of whether it will happen, but when, said scientists who presented the latest research on the subject at a recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

But when is hard to pinpoint. The dipole reversal pattern is erratic.

“We can have periods without reversals for many millions of years, and we can have four or five reversals within one million years,” said Yves Gallet, from Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France, who studies the palaeomagnetic record and estimates that the current decay started 2,000 years ago.

Flip or flop

Over the last century and a half, since monitoring began, scientists have measured a 10% decline in the dipole.

At the current rate of decline it would take 1,500 to 2,000 years to disappear.

SEAFLOOR RECORDER
Seafloor spreading, BBC
As molten rock rises, spreads out and cools, magnetised minerals record field direction
Over millions of years, the seafloor rocks retain a ‘barcode’ of pole reversals
These pole reversal events may take perhaps 10,000 years to complete
The last major pole flip appears to have been about 780,000 years ago

A particular weakness in the field has been observed off the coast of Brazil in the so-called Southern Atlantic Anomaly. Here, eccentricities in the Earth’s core have caused a “dip” in the field, leaving it 30% weaker than elsewhere.

The extra dose of radiation creates electronic glitches in satellites and spacecraft that fly through it. Even the Hubble telescope has been affected.

Magnetic reversals were always preceded by weakened magnetic fields, said Dr Gallet, but not all weakened fields bring on a flip-flop.

The Earth’s invisible shield could also grow back in strength. “Then sometime, maybe 10,000 years from now, the dipole will decay again and that will lead to a reversal,” said Harvard physicist Jeremy Bloxham.

The theme was recently taken up by Hollywood in the movie The Core, in which the Earth’s core mysteriously stops spinning, effectively turning off the electromagnetic field.

The movie is nonsense, scientists told BBC News Online, except that the Earth’s magnetic field is generated by activity deep inside it.

Iron record

The heat of the solid inner core keeps the molten cocktail of nickel and iron churning in the outer core, which generates a magnetic field.

It is not known how the core behaves exactly, but scientists have a general understanding of how electrical and fluid currents and magnetic field lines all interact to produce the field we experience outside Earth.

If we had the equivalent of a space probe that went into the core and made measurements for us, that would tell us a tremendous amount
Jeremy Bloxham, Harvard

Imagine the magnetic field lines within the core “twisting like spaghetti,” said Peter L Olson, geophysics professor at Johns Hopkins University.

As they wind and kink around each other, their interaction can accentuate the magnetic field or diminish it.

“Depending on how it’s kinked,” he said, “it can be helpful or harmful.”

The last time the field lines kinked into a dipole reversal was 780,000 years ago.

By studying seafloor sediment and lava flows, scientists can reconstruct the magnetic field patterns of the past. Iron in lava, for example, points in the direction of the then-existing field and is frozen in that orientation as the lava cools and hardens.

According to Dr Gallet, the oldest reversal that has been studied by lava flows comes from Greenland, dated at 16 million years. The time between reversals varies from a thousand to millions of years.

Global light show

So is the Earth about to flip? The safe bet may disappoint screenplay writers everywhere.

“Chances are we’re not,” said Dr Bloxham. “Reversals are rare events.”

And they would certainly not threaten life on Earth as they do in science fiction. Although there would be extra radiation exposure to satellites and some airplanes, there would also be enough of a residual field to provide protection to people, and certainly no more radiation than what is observed at the poles, where the field lines currently dip.

Simulation, Los Alamos
Supercomputers have modelled the pole flipping process (Image: Los Alamos Nat Lab)

But there would be some bizarre readjustment. Prior to Earth’s poles re-establishing themselves, a period of disorder would produce multiple poles, according to Dr Bloxham, which may make backwoods camping tricky.

“Getting around using a magnetic compass would be a more complicated endeavour,” he said.

A collapse would also produce a great increase in auroral activity – the beautiful display of lights generated by solar particles that follow the magnetic field lines down into the atmosphere.

And there would be plenty to time to grab a camera – the reversal is gradual.

This would give animals which use the magnetic field for navigation, such as some birds, turtles and bees, time to reorient themselves.

“They’d go through many generations in the period in which the field was entering the phase of reversal,” said Dr Bloxham. “Presumably they would learn new behaviour patterns to accommodate it.”

Space within

As for the ozone layer – which was thought to be vulnerable without a protective shield – the effects would be negligible unless there was a super-solar proton event, said Charles H Jackman, an atmospheric physicist at the US space agency’s Goddard Flight Center, referring to the high-energy radiation that can accompany solar flares.

The charged particles zinging down to Earth, said Dr Jackman, break apart molecules of nitrogen, whose atoms go on to form nitric oxide, which devours up ozone.

This happens all the time, but the effects would be increased during a magnetic reversal or diminished magnetic field.

Total field strength, IGRF
Fluctuations and movement of field strength across the globe are recorded

But he said scientists saw no significant change in ozone depletion due to the Southern Atlantic Anomaly. In any case, the ozone layer would bounce back quickly from the heavy solar bombardment, healing itself in just two to three years, according to Dr Jackman.

This is not the timeline associated with anthropogenic chlorofluorocarbons.

“Chlorofluorocarbons have a much longer lifetime in the atmosphere than does the nitric oxide and its associated constituents,” he said.

But all these scenarios are of an indeterminate future. The Earth’s interior will remain unexplored for a long time to come – only in science fiction can humans or their equipment survive the 5,500 Celsius temperature in the core to study its activity.

“If we had the equivalent of a space probe that went into the core and made measurements for us, that would tell us a tremendous amount,” said Dr Bloxham. “Hollywood may be able to do these things, but we can’t.”

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Ethiopian Dams a moment of Truth. A regime which is not learning from its mistakes…

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The Government of Ethiopia is preparing to repeat it mistakes by reinvesting in it’s fallen and highly contested dams.
The dictatorial regime to justify its megalomaniac project started cutting light all over Ethiopia randomly without warning. This to put pressure on the population and to assure the election outcome to its ruling party. Those who are not a member of the party are in continual blackout.
Another 20 million Eros on the same fallen project of a collapsed dump tunnel is been invested while 20 millions are starving. Surely the Gibe II dam and the rest on the river Omo will bust again due to the continual shift and opening of the Ethiopian rift valley. This is starting from Afar depression and permanent volcanic eruption down to lake Turkana. A regime rather than feeding its people by developing alterative and nature friendly energy supplies, rather prefers in spending billions on a sinking sand dam projects. Unfortunately all the dictatorial regimes manifestoes the same characteristics and their love megalomaniac big projects on the back of their dying population. 

Ethiopia map of dam surroundings at present

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mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

The Woyane Government position on the fallen dams

Gibe II Glitch

A collapse in a tunnel has forced the closure of Ethiopia’s largest hydropower plant, Gilgel Gibe II, one week after it was inaugurated. Engineers have estimated that the repairs will take two months and cost 356 million birr. As a result, large factories have been asked to halve their power consumption. 

A week after it was officially inaugurated, the largest hydropower station in Ethiopia’s history, Gilgel Gibe II (GG II) has suffered a collapse of a section of a tunnel. Minister of Mines and Energy Alemayehu Tegenu said that the plant halted operations on Sunday, January 24 after signs of a drop in pressure were observed. He said that the problem occurred some nine kilometers from the outlet of the tunnel and that 15 meters has collapsed. 

Semegnew Bekele (Eng), GG II Project Manager, said the problem is easy to solve and could be fixed in a very short time. The reconstruction work is expected to cost a maximum of 18 million Euros, (365 million birr) and take two months, according to engineers’ estimates. Reinforcement work is also expected to be done to strengthen other sections of the tunnel. Engineers added that they think the costs of the repair work will be covered by the contractor, as it is liable for repair work for one year after completion of the project. The contractor for GG II was Italian firm, Salini Costruttori, which also constructed Gilgel Gibe I. Factories that consume large amounts of electric power have been ordered by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) to reduce their consumption by 50 percent as a result of the incident. 

Following Tekeze Hydropower Plant’s launch, the opening of GG II was the second of three major hydropower projects that were expected to come online this fiscal year. GG II, which was constructed 250km south west of Addis Ababa for over 5.2 billion birr, can generate 420 megawatts of electricity from its four turbines. It was predicted that it was going to increase electric power supply by 38 percent. The Italian Government and the European Investment Bank paid for 52 percent of the total cost, while the Ethiopian Government covered the balance. GG II was supposed to solve the country’s power shortage and was also expected to export power to neighboring countries. 

Mihiret Debebe, CEO of EEPCo, said that the corporation is doing its best to solve the power shortage and is going to rapidly complete Beles Hydropower Project, which is expected to generate 460 mw when it starts operation in the next couple of weeks. GG II, an extension of the Gilgel Gibe I (GG I) hydropower project, does not have a dam. Instead, it uses the water discharged by the GG I, channeled through a 26 km tunnel under Fofa mountain, to Omo River Valley where it takes advantage of a 1.2 km drop to generate 420 mw. Construction of GG II was launched in 2005.Also underway is the Gibe III hydropower project, which, when operational, will double the country’s power capacity by generating 1,870 mw. The project launched in March 2008 is expected to cost around 20 billion birr. The same Italian firm has so far completed about 35 percent of the civil works of the project at a slow pace due to financing problems. 

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Sudan Tribune

Environment group calls to suspend funding of Ethiopia’s dam

(ADDIS ABABA) — An international environmental group urged the African Development Bank (AfDB) to reconsider their commitment to fund the ongoing construction of a dam in southwest Ethiopia saying it would affect the ecosystems and livelihoods in the region. 

The Gibe III Dam, located 190 miles (300 km) southwest of Addis Ababa, on the Omo River, is Ethiopia’s largest investment project. The project costs $1.7 billion. 

In order to diversify and develop its economy, the government of Ethiopia has initiated an aggressive plan to develop hydropower for export, long seen as one of the country’s few exploitable resources. Foreign aid covers 90% of Ethiopia’s national budget. 

International Rivers urged the AfDB to not fund the construction of Gibe III saying it will reduce food security of up to half a million poor farmers, herders and fishers in southwest Ethiopia and northern Kenya. 

“An oasis of biodiversity in a harsh desert, Lake Turkana supports 300,000 people and rich animal life. Hundreds of thousands of fishing families and pastoralists will be affected if the lake’s fragile ecosystem is stressed to the brink of collapse.” 

“The project would spread war and famine in a region that is already affected by climate change,” further said International Rivers. 

Next week from May 13-14 the AfDB directors will discuss during a meeting to be held in Dakar, Senegal, the funding of Gibe III which is under construction since 2006. The African bank agreed to contribute to finance the project but it has to determine how much it would pay. 

European Investment Bank is considering financing Gibe III, up to € 250 million, while Italy is mulling financing Gibe III with up to € 250 million. 

In complaints filled to the AfDB, Kenyan NGOs and International Rivers assert that the project violates five binding AfDB policies. 

Construction of the Gibe 3 Project began in July 2006 with flagrant violations of Ethiopia’s laws on environmental protection and procurement, said the environment advocacy group. 

It also alleged that the contract was awarded without competitive bidding to Italian construction giant Salini, raising serious questions about the project’s integrity. 

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The nongovernmental group said the AfDB should suspend its plans to fund this project until a thorough review and consultations with all affected peoples have taken place. 

“The AfDB should in the meantime help Ethiopia drought-proof its energy sector, diversify its energy mix, and tap its abundant renewable energy resources.” 

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The northern Keyna have already started the climatic water wars which has embraced all of the Omotic reverian populations.In Ethiopia the sacristy of natural resources due to the drying river basins and lakes has ignited tribal wars aggravated by the damming of rivers. 

 

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Kenya Should Stop Ethiopia From Building Dam

Date: Sat 23rd January 2010

Mars Group Kenya – Multimedia 

Water is life. And for this truism, many lives have been lost. Amid the devastating effects of climate change, it seems the people who depend on Lake Turkana are about to lose their source of livelihood – not due to nature but greed and intransigence. Despite numerous valid protestations about the environmental, political, economic and social consequences of Ethiopia’s decision to build a dam, Gibe III, on River Omo, the country seems intent on going ahead with the project.Reports suggest the 240m high dam with a reservoir stretching 151km is at an advanced stage. At a time when there are constant conflicts over water resources, it is unimaginable that our leaders have been lame ducks in the face of Ethiopia’s continued threat to the existence of Lake Turkana. Reports indicate that Lake Turkana’s death is nigh if the project continues as the lake gets 80 per cent of its water from River Omo. 

Death of a lakeNow, the fact that the river is the lifeline for people living around the lake is not new. And neither is the fact that without it, the people of Turkana and surrounding areas will be severely affected. This is serious given the number of conflicts over water resources. An environment impact report warns that “cutting off the main source of livelihood can only heighten the intense conflicts emanating from inadequate supply of resources for their mutual survival”. 

This will be compounded by, the report further contends, “total destruction of the environment and elimination of forest, woodland and total mutilation of biodiversity and all riverine economic activities”. Given such serious assessment, it does not make sense for Ethiopia to continue building the dam. The tragedy is that Kenya seems to have endorsed the project ostensibly because it will import 500 mega watts of power from Ethiopia once the dam is working. 

This thinking defeats logic because millions of Kenyans’ lives will be irreparably damaged. This realisation alone ought to tell the Government to take immediate steps to stop the construction of the dam. The Government has the obligation to protect the rights and interests of Kenya. 

A regime caught in its lies 

In Ethiopia damming is just a means to snatch cash on the pretext of national development . The years 2010 is a moment of truth that the dream has become an illusion and a game to robe money from international investors. 

  • Years ago the great lie read this article of 2007 non has come true

Ethiopia plans to provide all its citizens, 3 neighboring countries with electricity, says official 

The Associated Press
Friday, February 9, 2007
 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia 

Ethiopia has an ambitious multibillion-dollar (-euro) plan to provide all its citizens with electricity within eight years, as well as to supply some power to three neighboring countries, a top manager of the state-owned electricity company said Friday. 

Ethiopia can do this because it has a lot of potential to generate hydroelectric power, said Mihret Debebe, general manager of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation. 

The country is the source of a branch of the Nile River called the Blue Nile, which is believed to have huge power-generating potential. The Blue Nile merges with the White Nile in Sudan to flow into Egypt as the Nile River. 

By 2010, Ethiopia will generate more than 4,000 megawatts, enabling the country to provide 50 percent of its 77 million people with electricity, Mihret told The Associated Press. 

At present only 20 percent of Ethiopians get electricity and the country generates about 800 megawatts of power, he said. 

“The costs of meeting the target to provide electricity to the entire country will be more than 100 billion birr (US$11.7 billion; €9 billion),” Sendeku Araya, spokesman of the corporation told the AP. “The costs will be covered by the Ethiopian government and the (Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation), through foreign loans agreed upon by various international donors.” 

He said that the government was in discussions with China, the European Union, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, among other donors. 

Sendeku said that he did not have figures on Ethiopia’s power generation potential or how much needs to be produced to supply the whole country. 

Next year, experts are expected to complete their projections of what Ethiopia’s power generation potential is and exactly how much is needed to power up the entire country, said Sendeku. 

Five new dams are being built and the country plans to expand existing geothermal, wind and gas-turbine power generation projects, Mihret said. 

Ethiopia’s ambitions are not confined to its borders, he said. 

“We already have plans in place to begin supplying power, hopefully, to Sudan and Djibouti by 2009, and Kenya by 2010,” Mihret said. He did not say how much power Ethiopia will supply those countries. 

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TYPES OF PLATE MOVEMENT: Divergence, Convergence, and Lateral Slipping
At the boundaries of the plates, various deformations occur as the plates interact; they separate from one another (seafloor spreading), collide (forming mountain ranges), slip past one another (subduction zones, in which plates undergo destruction and remelting), and slip laterally. 

Divergent Plate Movement: Seafloor Spreading
Seafloor spreading is the movement of two oceanic plates away from each other (at a divergent plate boundary), which results in the formation of new oceanic crust (from magma that comes from within the Earth’s mantle) along a a mid-ocean ridge. Where the oceanic plates are moving away from each other is called a zone of divergence. Ocean floor spreading was first suggested by Harry Hess and Robert Dietz in the 1960’s. 

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Nile Damming is the Best way of Killing it!!!

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Historic map of the River Nile by Piri Reis

The Nile came form the  semetic  “nahal” which means “river valley” , later “neilos” in Greek and “nilus” in Latin. Coptic piaro or phiaro in Ethiopian Abaye or the   Felege Gihon (Ghion river)according to the Bible. The Ancient Egyptians called the river Ar or Aur (black) because of the color of the sediment left after the river’s annual flood.

There is no Egypt without the Nile. Since “Egypt is the gift of the Nile.This epigram of Hecataeus, quoted first by Herodotus.

The Nile has a length of about 4,160 miles (6,695 kilometres).  Its average discharge is 3.1 million litres (680,000 gallons) per second. 87.13%  this water comes from Blue Nile of Ethiopia. he rest 13% comes from Ethiopia

In ancient Egypt, the Nile, and its delta, were worshiped as a god. The god Hapi, who came in the shape of a frog, represented the Nile delta. Several times throughout history, Egyptians have tried to unify the Nile valley under their rule by conquering the Sudan. The lands to the south of them that bordered the river were in constant danger. The Sudan was a part the reign of Queen Sheba later named Meroe,  The Romans  tried to invade the source of the Nile during the rule of Nero, and countless other times. This is because the Egyptians have always feared that one day the Nile’s waters would no longer reach their country. People believed, that since the flow of the Nile was so unpredictable, something had to have been affecting it. A legend says that during one particularly bad famine in Egypt, the Egyptian Sultan sent his ambassadors to the king of Ethiopia in order to plead with him not the obstruct the waters. A Scottish traveler in the 18th century recounted a story that the King of Ethiopia had sent a letter to the pasha in 1704 threatening to cut off the water. Given this fear it is quite natural that the Nile countries desire to secure their water supplies.

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As we move into the 21st century, attention has shifted to the question of how to best us the 80 cubic kilometers of water that the Nile annually transports from Equatorial Africa across the Sahara to the Mediterranean Sea. The answers to these questions will most affect Egypt, with its rapidly growing population of 65 million people almost totally dependent on the Nile. Population growth in Egypt is expected to outstrip the water resources of the Nile early in the 21st century. This problem will be greatly complicated by population and economic growth in the upstream nations of Sudan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea.

The Nile basin  includes parts of Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo (Kinshasa), Kenya, Uganda. Ancient Egypt could not have existed without the river Nile. Since rainfall is almost non-existent in Egypt, the floods provided the only source of moisture to sustain crops.nile1

Every year, heavy summer rain in the Ethiopian highlands, sent a torrent of water that overflowed the banks of the Nile. When the floods went down it left thick rich mud (black silt) which was excellent soil to plant seeds in after it had been ploughed.

The ancient Egyptians could grow crops only in the mud left behind when the Nile flooded. So they all had fields all along the River Nile.

Length: (From White Nile Source to Mouth) 6695km (4184 miles).

flowrate2

Sources:

The White Nile: Lake Victoria, Uganda. The Blue Nile: Lake Tana, Ethiopia.

Countries: The Nile and its tributaries flow though nine countries. The White Nile flows though Uganda, Sudan, and Egypt. The Blue Nile starts in Ethiopia. Zaire, Kenya, Tanzanian, Rwanda, and Burundi all have tributaries, which flow into the Nile or into lake Victoria Nyanes.

Cities: The major cities that are located on the edge of the Nile and White Nile are: Cairo, Gondokoro, Khartoum, Aswan, Thebes/Luxor, Karnak, and the town of Alexandria lies near the Rozeta branch.

Major Dams: The major dams on the Nile are Roseires Dam, Sennar Dam, Aswan High Dam, and Owen Falls Dam.

Flow Rate: The Nile River’s average discharge is about 300 million cubic metres per day. To get a more accurate idea about how much water actually flows in the nile look at this image:
Atbara is the first town on the Nile, when no more smaller rivers join the nile futher down it.

To find out where Atbara is have a look at the maps on the maps page. Or click here to go directly to the correct map.

nileheight1
Cubic metres * 35.31 = cubic feet.
Cubic feet * 7.481 = USA gallons
600 cubic metres = 21,186 cubic feet.
21,186 cu.feet = 156,776.4 USA gallons.

Flow Direction:

It puzzled the ancients why the amount of water flowing down the Nile in Egypt varied so much over the course of a year, particularly because almost no rain fell there. This puzzlement was compounded for the ancient Romans and Greeks because the Nile’s minimum flow was in winter and maximum flood occurred during summer.  This is in contradiction to  the European river flooding.

hieroglp

The White Nile maintains a constant flow over the year, because its flow is doubly buffered. Seasonal variations are moderated, first because of storage in Central African lakes of Victoria and Albert and second because of evaporative losses in the Sudd, the world’s largest freshwater swamp. The Sudd is especially efficient in reducing annual variations in streamflow. Unusually wet years increase the area of the Sudd which leads to larger evaporative losses than during dry years, when the area of the Sudd is reduced. This even modulates the seasonal variations of the Sobat, which is a seasonal stream that flows west into the Sudd from Ethiopia. The result is that the White Nile issuing from the Sudd – south of Malakal – flows at about the same rate all year long. This steady stream keeps the Nile downstream from Khartoum flowing during the winter months, when the Blue Nile/Atbara system has dried up.

The Blue Nile-Atbara system is a completely different hydraulic regime. It responds to the wet season/dry season variation of the Ethiopian highlands. In the winter, when little rain falls in the highlands, the Atbara and Blue Nile dry up.But in the summer, when moist winds from the Indian Ocean cool as they climb up the Ethiopian highlands, bringing torrential rains to Ethiopia. Day after day the monsoon drenches the highlands, quickly filling the dry washes and canyons with red rushing water, which pours over the cliffs and down into torrents that ultimately join the Blue Nile or the Atbara. Look at the graphs for Rosieres, on the Blue Nile, and Atbara, at the mouth of the Atbara River. The Blue Nile and Atbara are some of the best examples that we have of seasonal streams. Notice how little water issues from these streams during winter and early Spring – most of the water during this time of year comes from the White Nile – but see how the Ethiopian streams increase in volume during the summer monsoons! During the summer, the White Nile’s contribution is insignificant, a drop in the bucket. The annual flood in Egypt is nothing more or less than the distant echo of the annual monsoon in Ethiopia. In this sense, Egypt is really the gift of the Indian Ocean.

new-sbl

The same pattern is evident in the pattern for Aswan, only there is less water here due to evaporation of the Nile waters during its leisurely passage through the Sahara Desert. Water is lost due to evaporation – not to mention human usage – so that progressively less water flows in the Nile from Arbara, the Nile’s last tributary, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

800px-aswan_damThe Aswan High Dam is 3,830 metres long, 980 metres wide at the base, 40 metres wide at the crest and 111 metres tall. It contains 43 million cubic metres of material. At maximum, 11,000 cubic metres of water can pass through the dam every second. There are further emergency spillways for an extra 5000 cubic metres per second and the Toshka Canal links the reservoir to the Toshka Depression. The reservoir, named Lake Nasser, is 550 km long and 35 km at its widest with a surface area of 5,250 square kilometres. It holds 111 cubic kilometres of water. owenfall

Unfortunately this dam has caused a big change to the lifes of farmers downstream from the dam. Usually when the river flooded once a year before the dam was built. It deposited fertile soil from upstream on its banks downstream. This washed up soil was extremely furtile, and renewed itself every year at in flood season. But now, since the dam was built the annual flood has been stopped. Causing all the farmers downstream to have to use fertilizers to grow their crops, which makes it more expensive.

The Merowe High Dam, also known as Merowe Multi-Purpose Hydro Project or Hamdab Dam, is a large construction project in Merowe Town in northern Sudan, about 350 km north of the capital Khartoum. It is situated on the river Nile, close to the 4th Cataract where the river divides into multiple smaller branches with large islands in between.merowe_dam1 Merowe is a city about 40 km downstream from the construction site at Hamdab. The main purpose of the dam will be the generation of electricity. Its dimensions make it the largest contemporary hydropower project in Africa.500px-merowe-sm

The creation of the reservoir lake of Marawe  will increase the surface area of the Nile by about 700 km². Under the climatic conditions at the site, additional evaporation losses of up to 1,500,000,000 m³ per year can be expected. This corresponds to about 8% of the total amount of water allocated to Sudan in the Nile Waters Treaty

The Wrong Climate for Big Dams

December 1, 2009

by Lori Pottinger
Why Africa Should Shun Hydropower Megaprojects
From World Rivers Review December 2009

Africa is the least electrified place in the world. An estimated 550 million Africans have no access to electricity. Nearly half of African countries have a power crisis. Solving this huge problem is made more difficult by widespread poverty, and because most Africans live far from the grid, greatly adding to the cost of bringing electricity to them.

In late October 2009, Africans joined a global day of protest to call attention to the need to keep carbon at 350 ppm. (350.org)
Under these challenging conditions, there are no second chances for electrifying Africa: it must be done right the first time. Yet many of the continent’s energy planners are pinning their hopes for African electrification on something as ephemeral as the rain, by pushing for a grid of large hydro dams across the continent. The World Bank has joined the fray, with its latest World Development Report calling for a major hydropower rollout for the continent. And dam-building nations like China and Brazil have descended, on the hunt for lucrative contracts.

The failure of this vision lies in the unpredictable nature of Africa’s rivers, a situation that will be made worse by a changing climate. New dams are being built with no examination of how climate change will impact them. Many existing dams are already suffering from drought-caused power shortages. Climate change is expected to dramatically alter the hydrology of African rivers, creating both worse droughts and more dangerous floods (the latter causing safety concerns for poorly maintained or operated dams). At the same time, many African nations face huge water-security problems. In this climate, the proposed frenzy of African dam building could be literally disastrous.

The oft-repeated sound-bite that only 5-8% of the continent’s hydro potential has been tapped is an incomplete message at best. The other side of the coin is that Africa is already dangerously hydro-dependent. Meanwhile, Africa has not developed even a tiny fraction of a percent of its available solar, wind, geothermal, or biomass power. While large dams have done little to bridge the “electricity divide” that has left so many Africans in the dark, renewable energy projects can be scaled to meet the needs of the average village (or, for that matter, urban area). At a time when global warming threatens to make the continent’s rivers even less reliable for large hydro projects, and their waters more precious for other uses, donors and governments should be looking to diversify the energy mix.
Risky Rivers

In late October 2009, Africans joined a global day of protest to call attention to the need to keep carbon at 350 ppm.
Past hydrological records, upon which dozens of new large dams are being planned, unfortunately has little bearing on future hydrology. The economic impacts of hydro-vulnerability will be felt both in the costs of power cuts upon industrial output, and the cost of wasted investments in non-performing dams. The economic risks of unviable dams will compound the risk already being taken by so many African nations: that of over-dependency on hydropower to supply electricity. Already, the majority of sub-Saharan states get most of their electricity from rivers. (At least two nations have begun to reverse this dependency: Tanzania, which is now developing its gas fields, and Kenya, which has become an African leader in geothermal power, and is looking to develop wind farms.) The other climate risk is that many large dams seriously harm downstream riverine communities and ecosystems, which will make climate adaptation that much harder for the many millions of Africans who depend directly on rivers and lakes for their livelihoods, food and water supply. Like the fairy tale that warns of “killing the goose that lays the golden egg,” African dam planners are putting at risk irreplaceable “golden egg” resources such as clean water supply, agriculturally important sediments that replenish floodplains, riverine forests and fisheries. Some dam planners agree that African hydroelectric schemes may be plagued by variable rainfall patterns, but believe that they can “play the odds” and just build more dams, across a wider region, and connect them all with transmission systems that would allow power to be traded to places where drought has crippled the power supply. Yet it’s hard to sell electricity from empty reservoirs.

Climate scientists predict truly alarming changes to various African waterways. UK government researcher Sir Nicholas Stern recently predicted that a 3-6 degree Celsius increase in temperature in the next few years will result in a 30% to 50% reduction in water availability in Southern Africa. Scientists have discovered evidence that droughts in West Africa lasted centuries in the past. Their 2009 study suggests global warming could create conditions that favor extreme droughts across much of Western Africa, home to Africa’s biggest reservoir (Akosombo’s Lake Volta), among others. East Africa has been drying since the mid-1980s, a trend that is already shaving percentage points off GDP for the region’s states. A new report, “Large Scale Hydropower, Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Change” by AFREPREN states, “Kenya’s GDP is equivalent to US$29.5 billion; the estimated loss during the aforementioned drought-induced power crisis was about 1.45% of GDP. This translates to US$442 million lost which could have been used to install 295 MW of new renewable power capacity.”

Most of the Nile Basin states get more than 70% of their electricity from hydro. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that there has already been “a reduction in runoff of 20% between 1972 and 1987” in the Nile, and “significant interruptions in hydropower generation as a result of severe droughts.” Even though some parts of Africa are expected to receive more rain, that increase is expected to be overwhelmed by an increase in temperature across the continent, which will lead to higher evaporation rates.

A 2006 study by climate experts at the University of Cape Town revealed that even a small decrease in Africa’s rainfall could drastically reduce river flows, affecting a quarter of the continent. For example, a 10% reduction in rain over the Johannesburg area could lead to a 70% drop in the Orange River’s levels. In parts of northern Africa, river water levels would drop more than 50%. “It’s like erasing large sections of the rivers from the map,” said Maarten de Wit, who headed up the study.

shuttle1

Nile from the space 2008

Energy Insurance

African nations have many better alternatives to large-scale hydro. A few examples:

Geothermal: As the UN notes, Africa has an abundance of geothermal potential. Says Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director: “There are least 4,000MW of electricity ready for harvesting along the Rift. It is time to take this technology off the back burner in order to power livelihoods, fuel development and reduce dependence on polluting and unpredictable fossil fuels. From the place where human-kind took its first faltering steps is emerging one of the answers to its continued survival on this planet.” UN figures show that Africa has tapped less than 0.6 percent of its geothermal. Kenya is the exception, with 10% of its electricity now coming from geothermal.

Solar: Africa’s potential is nearly limitless. A new study co-sponsored by Justiça Ambiental and International Rivers shows that Mozambique’s huge and virtually unexploited solar potential is about 1.49 million GWh – thousands of times more than the country’s current annual energy demand. And this power is distributed evenly across the country. Exploiting this energy would benefit the more than 80% of Mozambique’s population that is now off-grid.

Wind: Wind potential is also high in many parts of Africa, and is finally beginning to be developed (new large projects are underway in Kenya and Egypt, for example). Co-gen: The production of electricity from steam, heat, or other energy sources as a by-product of another industrial process is well-suited to many African nations. AFRPREN estimates that Africa could get 20% of its electricity from co-gen. Mauritius now gets almost half of its electricity from co-gen plants using mostly sugar cane waste.

Efficiency: Energy efficiency is critical for all nations but – perhaps surprisingly – even more so for poor nations where energy use is just starting to grow. Setting efficiency standards early can help make every dollar invested in energy supply go that much farther, by reducing the cost of systems needed to power villages and towns, and freeing up existing power supply for other uses. The McKinsey Institute estimates that developing countries could save an estimated $600 billion a year by 2020 by investing $90 billion a year in energy efficient cars, appliances and production methods.

In late October 2009, Africans joined a global day of protest to call attention to the need to keep carbon at 350 ppm. (350.org)
Diversifying Africa’s energy sector would help its climate-adaptation efforts in key ways: it would de-emphasize reliance on erratic rainfall for electricity, reduce conflict over water resources, and protect river-based ecosystems and the many benefits they bring. And it would share the energy wealth with the half a billion Africans now living in the dark.

The world’s richest, highest-carbon-emitting nations owe it to Africa to help it develop its clean energy resources – projects that will help in climate-change adaptation efforts, rather than hinder them. Healthy rivers are priceless. Let’s not let Africa learn that the hard way.

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New Report Confirms Dams are Draining Lake Victoria

International Rivers Network

A new report by a Kenya-based hydrologic engineer confirms that over-releases from two dams on the Nile in Uganda are a primary cause of the severe drops in Lake Victoria in recent years. The report, Connections Between Recent Water Level Drops in Lake Victoria, Dam Operations and Drought (1), finds that about 55% of the lake’s drop during 2004-05 is due to the Owen Falls dams (now known as Nalubaale and Kiira dams) releasing excessive amounts of water from the lake. The natural rock formation controlling Lake Victoria’s outflow was replaced by the first Owen Falls dam in the 1950s. The second dam was built with World Bank funding in the 1990s.

The lake, which has dropped 1.2 meters since 2003, was, at the end of 2005, at its lowest level since 1951. The receding shoreline has caused serious harm to water supply systems, boat operators and farmers. It is estimated that the lake catchment supports about one-third of the total population of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. (2)

The new study, which analyzed recent reports produced for the Government of Uganda and other publicly available information, comes to the following conclusions: The Owen Falls dams have been releasing more water than allowed by the operating rule agreed by Uganda and Egypt. This “Agreed Curve” is intended to ensure that the releases through the dams correspond to the natural flow of the river before damming. The dam operators’ permits dictate allowable flows based on this agreement. Based on the current Lake Victoria hydrology, as well as observations from the past 100+ years, the Owen Falls dams are likely over-sized. The lack of public information on dam releases, dam operations and river flows makes it difficult for independent experts to soundly judge the performance of existing and proposed hydroelectric projects on the Victoria Nile. With experts concluding that the future climate will likely involve drier conditions, lower lake levels, and lower downstream river flows, the lack of adequate stream flows will be exacerbated, making it increasingly more difficult for Victoria Nile dams to produce their projected power. This calls into question Uganda’s reliance on hydropower on the Victoria Nile as its primary source of electricity.

Possible climate change must be a major consideration in the development of more dams on the Nile. As the report states, “It is unknown if Lake Victoria will recharge to the high levels and outflow experienced during 1961-2000, and if such a recharge could occur, whether it would be in the next years or only in 100 years. Viable non-hydro, or at least hydro not on the Victoria Nile, power generating alternatives must therefore be considered for Uganda.” Until the recent addition of emergency fossil-fuel plants, Uganda has been almost entirely dependent upon hydropower for its electricity needs.

The World Bank insisted in the 1980s that a second dam at Owen Falls, called the Owen Falls Extension Project, was Uganda’s “least-cost option,” and provided funding for the second dam and repair of the original dam (3). The extension project was engineered by the Canadian firm Acres International, which based its design on hydrological analysis that was considered too optimistic by many other experts at the time. The project did not undergo an environmental impact assessment; indeed, World Bank documents stated: “Extension of the existing plant at Owen Falls will have minimal environmental impact because the project will not affect downstream hydrology or fisheries.” (4)

Frank Muramuzi, of the Ugandan NGO National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), said: “This dam complex is now pulling the plug on Lake Victoria, with implications for millions. The blame is on three parties: The government for refusing to listen to any views about problems with these dams; Acres International, for suspect technical advice, and the World Bank for backing the project in the first place.”

Lori Pottinger of the US group International Rivers Network said: “The amazing incompetence of the World Bank and Acres reveals the kind of hubris that fuels so many large dam projects. Africa cannot afford the Bank’s brand of high-risk projects any longer.” For more information:


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