Dams and settlements (Kenya)

Dams and settlements (Kenya)
2014 h. Mursi woman outside her house in the Omo valley. (Ethiopia) © Survival International

Dams and settlements (Kenya)

The valley of the lower Omo, where many tribal groups live, is a World Heritage site due to its archaeological and geological importance. The Mursi live mainly from shepherding and farming on their lands, which are a part of Omo National Park.

The future of the lower Omo valley and of its inhabitants is under threat from the opening of the Gibe III dam (opened late in 2015), the largest in Africa, which incorporates a complex system for distributing water for irrigating the new cash crops which are being introduced but which are alien to the native people.

Blocking the south-western part of the river, which flows 760 km from the highlands of Ethiopia to Lake Turkana in Kenya, will reduce the amount of water that reaches the lake by two thirds. This will cause problems to pastures and crops, and will destroy fishing, putting the food and the future of many indigenous people like the Mursi at risk. Especially if they are forced to migrate to city suburbs, where they will have to integrate into a monetised economy and face difficult conditions of poverty.