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Fri Dec 09 01:56:11 SAST 2016

'Italy's largest contractor a threat to thousands in Kenya‚ Ethiopia'

TMG Digital | 2016-03-14 20:07:17.0
"The real consequences of the Ethiopian government’s devastating policies for its country’s 'development'‚ which are shamefully supported by western aid agencies like the UK’s DFID and USAID‚ are plain for all to see. File photo
Image by: KATY MIGIRO / REUTERS

An Italian engineering company has been reported to the OECD because the dam it is building is set to destroy the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people in Kenya and Ethiopia.

Survival International (SI)‚ a global movement for the rights of tribal peoples‚ reported engineering giant Salini to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development over the construction of the dam‚ which has cut off the Omo River’s regular flooding‚ which 100‚000 people rely on to water their crops and livestock.

According to a statement released by SI‚ a further 100‚000 people rely on the flooding more indirectly.

SI said the dam could mean that Lake Turkana – the world’s largest desert lake – would be drained‚ spelling disaster for the 300‚000 people.

SI said Salini “did not seek the consent of local people before building the dam‚ but claimed that an ‘artificial flood release’ would compensate them for their losses. However‚ this promised flood never came.”

According to SI‚ “The region is one of the most important sites in early human evolution‚ and an area of exceptional biodiversity‚ with two World Heritage Sites and five national parks. The head of Kenya’s conservation agency said last week that the dam is unleashing ‘one of the worst environmental disasters you can imagine’.”

SI’s Stephen Corry said: “Salini has ignored crucial evidence‚ made false promises and ridden roughshod over the rights of hundreds of thousands of people.

"Thousands are now facing starvation because Italy’s largest contractor‚ and one of its best known companies‚ didn’t think human rights were worth its time.

"The real consequences of the Ethiopian government’s devastating policies for its country’s 'development'‚ which are shamefully supported by western aid agencies like the UK’s DFID and USAID‚ are plain for all to see.

"Stealing people’s land and causing massive environmental destruction is not ‘progress’‚ it is a death sentence for tribal peoples.”

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