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Mass deportation starts at new dam sites in eastern Sudan

February 23 - 2015 KASSALA
Location of the Upper Atbara and Setit Dam Complex (Wikipedia)
Location of the Upper Atbara and Setit Dam Complex (Wikipedia)

The deportation of thousands of people living near the site of the Upper Atbara and Setit Dam Complex in Kassala state has started on Saturday.

The first 500 families were transported from the area of Wad El Helew, in the largest deportation operation in Sudan caused by the construction of dams. By mid-March, tens of thousands of residents will have been moved to alternative locations.

It is expected that the lakes created by the dam complex will affect people in Kassala’s Wad El Helew and Kassala localities, and in El Fashaga locality in El Gedaref state.

One of the affected residents complained to Dabanga that the dam complex management began flooding their lands without keeping to all its commitments towards the population of the area. “For instance, the farmers, herders, and shopkeepers at the markets in the areas have not been offered compensation for their losses until now.”

He called on “national and international organisations and the media to stand by those who are facing forced deportation in eastern Sudan”.

The official opening of the new dam complex is scheduled for September. More than 90 percent has been completed so far.

The combined generation capacity of the Rumela Dam on the Upper Atbara River and the Burdana Dam on the Setit (or Seteet) River will be 320 megawatts. The project is supposed to create more than ten million acres of new farmland to Kassala state and neighbouring El Gedaref state, at a cost $840 million, according to the dams chief engineer.


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