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Damning the Omo River Valley

Rudi Dundas | Ethiopia

Kara woman, Korcho Village with the Omo River seen in the background. The Omo River is the primary source of water for most people in this expansive Rift Valley area in southern Ethiopia. The Kara are known for their elaborate body painting with white chalk form the river.

The Omo River Valley in southern Ethiopia is home to an estimated 200,000 people living in 18 different tribes. A large hydro-electric dam, Gibe III, largely funded by China, on the Omo River is scheduled to be completed within a year and will change tribal life as it has been practiced for thousands of years. The dam will provide hydroelectric power for the cities of Ethiopia, but end the livelihood of the tribes. Alluvial flood plain farming now practiced by the tribes will end when the dam controls the flooding of the River. And the people of the Valley will no longer be able to farm their crops, with famine and displacement being the most likely consequence.

Most of the tribes are illiterate, speaking local dialects and know very little about the dam or of what the near future will bring for them.

These cultures are a living heritage that are being sacrificed for the foreign corporate farming and massive sugar cane plantations that are now being installed by the government.

Please sign the petition: http://www.stopgibe3.org/

I have been working for the past five years, traveling to over 15 countries to cover stories about how water issues are affecting individual people and their communities around the world.  I talk with people, hear their stories, and create portraits that speak of their nobility and grace under hardship, of the problems of the world's water crisis and how to solve them.



Survival International: http://www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/omovalley/gibedam

Human Rights Watch:  "what will happen if hunger comes:" http://assets.survivalinternational.org/documents/956/hrw-org-report-ethiopia0612webwcover-pdf.pdf

Omo Child: http://omochild.org/

Blue Planet Network:  http://blueplanetnetwork.org/


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