Gebe I an Ethiopian dam built on Eastern Africa’s separating tectonic plates without any geological survey has been over run as predicted and destroyed many farm lands with the loss of unknown number of human and animal lives. A dam constructed with a simple order of the ruling dictator has started costing lives and farms. The undetermined number of Omotic population killed like that of the 2006 floods. Such forced runoff will precipitate the eventual collapse of dams within 24 months after the flood creating a slope gradient of the soil surface near the gully as the recent studies predict in 40 % of the case.
The news passed in silence in a country where the regime does not tolerate critics when it comes to its megalomaniac constructions. In Ethiopia writing any article concerning the deadly dams is a taboo in a country where almost all the independent media are closed and the remaining journalists are fleeing. And the foreign independent Medias are not allowed to go and see and report, since dam construction has brought too much critic to the ruling dictator in the recent days. The only article about the looming catastrophe is a government media recently published in Amharic in order to keep it from international attention. The government gave the following biased information by the government controlled media Reporter on 25 August 2010. The governmental organ The Reporter did not even care for the human and animal lives but on the generator which they claimed that “it will cost over 20Million”. They claimed “it was burned out by the mass flow of uncontrolled water.” The main objective of such disinformation is to hide the main cause of destruction which is high rain on the Ethiopian altitude and the tectonic movement which is active in the region.
The article gives contradictory statements that the water was released from the dam by the electricians, at the same time it is reported that the water over run the dam due to the mass rain fall. The release of water in upstream by Gibe I could have a catastrophic repercussion on Gibe II and Gibe III which is not yet finished.
The dead bodies only would be found in downstream near and around lake Turkana as that of the 2006 dam water release incident in the tectonic death dams:-
“The death toll from flash floods in Ethiopia rose Monday after police reported an unknown number of bodies had been found in the country’s southwest, where 364 deaths have already been confirmed. The discovery of bodies on a remote delta in the flood-ravaged Omo River valley near the shores of Lake Turkana, on the Ethiopian-Kenyan border, came as authorities stepped up evacuation warnings in low-lying areas nationwide. ” Terra Daily Aug 21, 2006
This time year the government did not even issue a warning with the increasing flood all over the Ethiopian Highlands which left over 270000 people homeless. This year all dams around Ethiopia are threatened. The massif rain fall has flooded huge areas in the southwest, Koka dam on the Awash River in the east, and the Tise Abby on the Blue Nile in the north.
In Ethiopia like the flood 2006 hundred thousand farmlands has been flooded due to the heavy rains that pounded the region.
This year the monsoon rain has been heavy in Ethiopia as that of the Pakistan and China. The different is the Ethiopian highland plateau drains the water faster to the lowland valley in Omo and Afar regions menacing the dams, where in Asia the water floats. Heavy rain land slide and flooding will deteriorate the existing famine in the country. The Ethiopian famine is not only the outcome drought but also heavy rain in the harvest season which wipes out the farmlands and the mismanagement of the consecutive regimes which came to power in the country. The present regime perpetuates to existent to use it as a source of income to stay in power. The group in power today had used in the past the Band Aid internationally raised fund by Bob Geldof in 1984/85 to buy arms at the expense of the starving millions.
The Ethiopian high land plateau is flooded once again and most of the rain in the south and east will storm the dams in the Gebe and Awash Rivers found the rift valley. Today asking people who live around the dams to move to higher ground to take precautionary measures, as the rain in the highlands is increasing and dams start over flooding with water beyond their capacity is not enough as prevention measures. The best solution is to find the main cause of over flooding, which is so called the government flood control method created by pyramidal dams. The Ethiopian Dictator has to stop constructing them on such sliding land moving ground like that of Omo, since the region is situated in moving plates of the Eastern African Rift valley. One would not try to connect two separating plates by dam which will end up cracking and in the end will bust causing millions of lives down streams, unless you are a dictator and you have the world at your disposal.
Ethiopian Water Dictator Melese Zenawie promised to export electricity to Kenya, Sudan, and Djibouti in September 2010 after the rains and at the cost of the lives of the riparian population. The dictator forgot in his formula two equations:-
– One the riparian population that he calls insects or butter flays considered as dispensable,
-two the floods and the sliding soil which is out of his personal control or with that of China which could not even control its own dams, flood and sliding mud.
Melese Zenawie’s promised amounts were: — 230 kilovolt to Djibouti, 500 megawatts of electricity to Kenya & 200 megawatts to Sudan.
These promises are built on sinking sands seeing the geological situation of the moving plates creating a new ocean in the horn of Africa at the site where the Pharaoh is constructing his dooms day pyramidal dams.
The final solution would be to Stop Damming and start making alternative energy. Most of all start satisfying ones won needs before even thinking to export. The hypothetical electrical megawatts offers to the neighboring countries is just a pretext by the ruling Dictator to galvanize funds from financial institutions like African development and World Banks, that have already started to be skeptical to these megalomaniac catastrophic dams of the Ethiopian Water Dictator.
U.N. says 270,000 at risk as floods loom in Ethiopia
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 19 people were killed in mudslides after flooding last week and nearly 12,000 people had been displaced since then.
“Some 270,000 people could be affected by flooding in the (Amhara region),” OCHA said in a statement, quoting a contingency plan issued by regional authorities.
Flooding often affects Ethiopia’s lowlands during the rainy season between June and September. In 2006, more than 1,000 people were killed and more than 300,000 made homeless.
“New flooding has been reported in recent days, including in the eastern Amhara lowlands and in northern Somali Region,” it said.
The plan says $6.8 million would be needed to respond to such an emergency.
The country’s disaster management office gave a lower estimate, saying 153,000 people were likely to be affected by next month’s floods, of whom 25 per cent could lose their homes.
“Good contingency planning needs to be in place,” an aid worker monitoring the flooding told Reuters. “According to data from the meteorological office, the heavy rains will continue through September.”
Almost 5,000 people who fled to higher ground are now stranded and inaccessible to local authorities, according to the OCHA statement.
Significant flooding damages the country’s agriculture-based economy, washing away thousands of cattle, ruining crops and submerging roads. (Reporting by Barry Malone; editing by George Obulutsa and Andrew Dobbie)
INTERVIEW-Ethiopia rejects dam criticism, targets 10,000 MW
02 Sep 2010 15:12:50 GMT
The Horn of Africa nation’s ambitious dam building programme has drawn fire from human rights groups as well as from Egypt and other Nile River countries.
“We have a plan to reach 10,000 MW within the coming five years,” mines and energy minister, Alemayehu Tegenu, told Reuters in an interview.
“Most of the energy we plan to generate will come from hydropower.”
Ethiopia is overwhelmingly reliant on dams for its energy needs and has opened three over the last year, bringing the total number in the country to seven.
Another two are being built, including the huge Gibe III — a project that foreign charities say could leave more than 200,000 people reliant on food aid.
Rights groups, spearheaded by Survival International, have started an online campaign against the dam, which would generate 2,000 MW, and are lobbying international lenders not to contribute to its 1.4 billion euro ($1.79 billion) cost.
“These organisations do not want Ethiopia to develop,” Alemayehu said.
“Criticising countries like Ethiopia is their source of income. They have no reason to attack our dams. We have environmental and social plans in place.”
The European Investment Bank (EIB) said last month that it had decided not to help fund the project but did not say why it had made that decision.
Alemayehu said it was possible the EIB had been pressured by rights groups.
“But I don’t know their reason,” he said. “It’s not a big problem for us. We have other options. And the funding at the moment is coming from our government.”
“NO NILE WAR”
Ethiopia’s hydropower plans are also closely watched by Egypt and Sudan who fear more dams on Ethiopia’s stretch of the Nile could leave them thirsty.
After more than a decade of talks driven by anger over the perceived injustice of a previous Nile water treaty signed in 1929, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya signed a new deal in May without their northern neighbours.
The five signatories have given the other Nile Basin countries — Egypt, Sudan, Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo — one year to join the pact but the countries have been split by behind-the-scenes rows since the signing.
Under the 1929 deal, Egypt, which faces water shortages by 2017, is entitled to 55.5 billion cubic metres a year, the lion’s share of the Nile’s flow of 84 billion cubic metres. Some 85 percent of the Nile’s waters originate in Ethiopia.
The nine countries are due to meet again in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in November.
“What we will construct on the river will never cause any problems for the Egyptians,” Alemayehu said. “But the Egyptians always stand against Ethiopian development. They need to understand better what we are planning.”
Alemayehu, however, ruled out the possibility that war could erupt over the Nile.
“That will never happen,” he said. “Never.”
Ethiopia plans to export power to neighbouring Sudan, Djibouti and Kenya as soon as it meets its own growing energy needs, Alemayehu said.
Ethiopia rationed power for five months this year with outages every second day, which closed factories, hampered exports and fuelled a currency shortage.
“We should have no need to ration power in 2011 with our new dams,” Alemayehu said. “We are now building interconnectivity infrastructure with Sudan and Djibouti and that should be finished within six months.”
Power demand in Africa will rise by 150,000 MW between 2007 and 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.
|The Gibe III dam: Over before it has begun?|
|Written by Hannah Gibson (1)|
|Thursday, 02 September 2010 08:09|
|Energy shortfalls in Ethiopia have long been a problem, with frequent outages and reduced developmental capacity due to unreliable power supplies. The Ethiopian Government has therefore turned to large-scale hydroelectric power in an attempt to tackle the problem. As of 2010, five major hydroelectric projects are underway in the country, with more still in the planning stage.
Gibe III is a hydropower project which, on completion, will comprise the tallest dam in Africa. The building of Gibe III however has been surrounded by controversy, mainly due to environmental and human rights concerns. The environmental impact of the dam and its associated reservoir is expected to be significant and thousands of people who live in the region will need to be relocated. Although construction of the dam has already begun, the project has not yet secured full funding and, under pressure from campaigners, some of the building work has been suspended. This discussion paper explores the issues relating to the hydro-electric projects on the Gilgel Gibe River in southern Ethiopia, focusing on Gibe III.
A background to the project: Gibe I and Gibe II
The Gibe hydropower project comprises a series of dams located along the Omo River in southern Ethiopia. The Omo River flows from an area approximately 300km southwest of Addis Ababa and on into Lake Turkana in the Rift Valley region of Kenya, and the Gilgel Gibe River is a tributary of the Omo River. Plans to develop the hydroelectric potential of the Gilgel Gibe River were first announced in the 1980s. Construction of the Gilgel Gibe plant started in 1986 and was completed in 2004, resulting in the Gibe I dam. The plant became Ethiopia’s largest power plant with a capacity of 184 megawatts, enough to power over 123,000 homes.(2)
However, from the outset however it was clear that the electricity generated by Gibe I would not be sufficient for Ethiopia’s growing power needs. The second phase of the development of the Gibe hydropower potential saw the introduction of the Gibe II plant. Located approximately 2 kilometres downstream of the Gibe I dam, Gibe II was introduced to channel the river that was regulated by the Gibe I dam through a 26km-long hydraulic tunnel. Gibe II has the capacity to generate more than 400 megawatts of electricity and there was no need for any of the inhabitants of the areas along the river to be relocated since it used structures already in place as part of Gibe I.(3) The Gibe II project was inaugurated in January 2010.
The Gibe III Project
Gibe III is the third in the series of cascading hydroelectric projects in the region. Gibe III is also located on the Omo River and on completion, will be the largest hydropower plant in Africa. Its anticipated power output of about 1870 megawatts will more than double the total installed capacity in Ethiopia, which in 2007 was 814 megawatts.(4) Ethiopia has suffered from frequent blackouts and power cuts over recent years and is in need of increased electrical supply. The planned generating capacity of Gibe III will create more power than Ethiopia will consume, meaning that surplus energy can be sold to neighbouring countries. Djibouti, Yemen, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Egypt will all be in a position to purchase the excess energy from Ethiopia.(5)
According to the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO), the sole provider or power in Ethiopia, the surplus energy is expected to create US$ 407 million in revenue with Ethiopia.(6) For Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, this additional revenue will provide a vital boost to the economy. The EEPCO also predicts that the regulation of the flow of the river, which floods annually under normal circumstances, will be beneficial for local inhabitants since the river will be navigable all year round.
Project met with opposition
Construction of Gibe III began in 2006 and was initially scheduled for completion in 2010. Concerns have been raised however, over the severe environmental degradation and the human rights implications that are predicated to accompany the project. The decreased water flow of the Omo River as a result of the Gibe III dam will have a significant impact on the ecosystems surrounding the river. Concerns have also been raised over the implications of resettlement and the loss of livelihood for the people who live along the Omo River. Human rights advocates say that the dam project has the potential to destroy the livelihoods of 500,000 people in Ethiopia and Kenya.(7) Flood retreat cultivation is central to the lives of many people living along the Omo River. Families traditionally plant riverbank plots as the river floods begin to retreat, with harvesting taking place a few months later. This silt-laden floodwaters mean additional fertilisers are not needed and the reliability of the harvest makes it a fundamental practice for the region’s food security.(8) With the introduction of the dam and the regulation of the flow of the river, this practice will no longer be possible.
Although construction is already under way on Gibe III, a collation of environmental and human rights groups have mounted a campaign to stop the project. The aim is to pressure financiers into ceasing their support of the project. It is in partly due to concerns that have been raised over the environmental and human impact of the project that the full construction cost has not yet been secured.
The project is predominately financed by the Ethiopian Government, with part of the project financed through a corporate bond issued by EEPCO, which is marketed to the Ethiopian diaspora. The World Bank and the European Investment Bank also considered funding the project, but have not yet approved any funding. The Exim Bank of China finances the transmission line to Addis Ababa and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China volunteered a US$ 500 million dollar loan, although this loan has also not yet been confirmed. In March 2010 the African Development Bank (AfDB), one of the main funders of the project, delayed a decision about a loan pending a review of the dam’s environmental impact. The review has been delayed twice previously, but the fact that the AfDB agreed to undertake the hydrological assessment has led opponents to believe that these issues were not studied sufficiently by project developers prior to the beginning of construction. Two previous environmental impact assessments conducted for EEPCO in 2006 and 2008 have also been challenged by the Africa Resources Working Group.(9)
A view to the future
Whilst even critics of the hydropower projects agree that Ethiopia needs to expand its energy production capacity in order to support development, whether large-scale hydropower plants is the best way to do this is a question that is being asked from many sides. The thought that Ethiopia will become one of the most hydropower-dependent nations in the world makes many wary of such a project. Such total dependence on rain in a time of global warming may be potentially disastrous in a country where drought-related food shortages are prevalent and water resources are critical for survival. In contrast, neighbouring Kenya has announced that it is stepping back from hydropower reliance due to the environmental conditions in the country.(10)
The inability of the Gibe III project to secure complete funding points is an ongoing problem for this project, in that it has not yet convinced people that the risks involved are worth it and necessary. It seems that even with construction under way, completion is not certain. Thorough and transparent ecological and human impact assessments need to be carried out in order for the project to move forward with minimum damage and delay and with maximum benefit for the region that the project is aimed at serving.
© 2010 – 2013, Prof. Muse Tegegne. All rights reserved.